Just as voters in the United Kingdom were gearing up to decide on a possible Brexit from a continental club that it has been a member of since 1973 and the Eurogroup and International Monetary Fund (IMF) were contemplating yet another bailout for financially strapped Greece, European Union Ambassador to Mexico Andrew Standley made an appeal for solidarity and mutual support within the 28-member federation he represents during his official welcome speech at the annual Europe Day diplomatic reception Monday.
“This is a day we celebrate peace, cooperation and solidarity,” Standley said, after referencing the fact that the date marked the 66th anniversary of the post-World War II Schuman Declaration that would eventually evolve into the European Union.
“With all the challenges we are confronting today, we value even more the peace and prosperity that we continue to enjoy throughout Europe.”
“Europe is still the largest economic entity on Earth, the most significant commercial power and the largest source of humanitarian and developmental aid,” he said.
“It is true that we are now facing new and unexpected challenges, but we — a union of more than 500 million citizens with strong and well-established national and supranational institutions — no doubt have the capability to overcome these difficulties without abandoning our fundamental values,” Standley said.
“It may well be that our biggest challenges will be those that involve the erosion of the complete and real expression of solidarity between the nations and peoples of Europe that has been the basis of European integration and peace. Solidarity is not just asked for, but also given.”
Standley said that now is a time for all EU inhabitants to “recommit to a sense of solidarity,” not only as Europeans, but also as citizens of the world.
“That solidarity is also the foundation of our broad relations with Mexico, one of our closest strategic partners,” he said.
“In the last year, there were major advances in the relationship. During the COP 21 Climate Change summit in Paris, Mexico and the European Union showed the strength of our association through the promotion of a positive global agenda.”
Standley likewise said that he expected to see similar mutual cooperation during the COP 13 summit of biodiversity slated to take place in Cancun come December.
He added that the EU-Mexico summit in Brussels last June, which was led by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk, was a solid example of the commitment on both sides to deepen the relationship, including a broadening of the comprehensive agreement for political and economic cooperation signed in 2000.
Standley said that it is within the context of the strong bilateral relationship that High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini will soon be visiting Mexico.
“Our agenda with Mexico is very positive,” he said.
“We have accomplished much of the last year, and we have much to look forward to in the 12 months that lie ahead.”
Standley concluded his speech by saying that future success in exploiting the two-way relationship between Europe and Mexico will depend on many factors, but that hard work and commitment are at the core of any major accomplishments.
Europe and Mexico currently have a combined bilateral trade of more than $65 billion annually and accumulated European investment in Mexico surpasses $140 billion, representing roughly 40 percent of all foreign capital here.
Europe Day marks the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, issued in 1950 by then-French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman in 1950, when Europe was still reeling from the devastation of World War II.
The declaration set out an idea for a new form of regional political cooperation through the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), overseeing the production and distribution of two the most crucial products used in war.
Originally the proposal was to be between France and Germany, but in the wake of the deadliest conflict in human history, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg were quick to join the fledgling community.
The ECSC proposal, in the words of the Schuman Declaration, was intended to make war in Europe “not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible.”
Since its creation 66 years ago, the ECSC has undergone numerous modifications and transformations and is now the European Union, an organic and constantly evolving political-economic federation of states, currently with 28 members.