The Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Nigeria, Mr Zdeněk Krejči, (L) and the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Emmanuelle Blatmann.
By Maureen Okon
The President of the Council of the European Union (EU) in Nigeria, Mrs Emmanuelle Blatmann, says the EU Presidency is committed to promoting multilateralism and renewed relations with Nigeria and other EU’s partners.
Blatmann, who is also the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, said this at the handing-over ceremony of the Council’s Presidency to the Czech Republic on Tuesday, in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the presidency which is currently, as of January held by France, will end on June 30.
Three successive presidencies of the Council are known as presidency trios. The presidency of the Council rotates among the EU member states every six months.
The trio sets long-term goals and prepares a common agenda determining the topics and major issues that will be addressed by the Council over an 18-month period.
The current trio (2022–2023) is made up of France (January– June 2022), Czech Republic (July– December 2022) and Sweden (January–July 2023).
According to Blatmann, the countries form a trio of presidencies with shared priorities which are protecting citizens and freedoms, especially the respect and protection of European values.
“To strengthening the Schengen area and our common asylum and migration policy; promoting a European growth and investment model based on green and sustainable growth.
“The strengthening of European industrial and digital sovereignty; to promoting multilateralism and renewed relations with Europe’s partners,” she said.
The ambassador said that regarding the French Presidency,” I’d like to recall our three priorities: a more powerful union, provided with a defence policy and capable of guaranteeing stability and prosperity in its neighborhood.
“A new European growth model aimed at innovation, ecological and digital transitions; and a rrtore ‘nutria Il Union, promoting cultural and linguistic diversity, youth and, above all, democracy and the rule of law.
“In this regard, a key moment of our presidency was the conclusion of the Conference on the Future of Europe, with proposals on how the EU should change based on citizens’ ideas and recommendations.
“Many young citizens took part in this consultation this year, which is the European Year of Youth,” she said.
Responding, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Nigeria, Mr Zdeněk Krejči, said that the Union’s unity was not one of an authoritarian unanimity, but a unity in diversity of a multi-voice debate.
The envoy said that in 1996, the then President of Czech, Våclav Havel, considered their continent as Charlemagne Prize ceremonial, that he stressed the tasks ahead of Europe deserve careful and thorough reflection.
According to him, in the then international context, particularly favourable to Western democracies, Havel called on Europeans to rediscover their conscience and to take responsibility for global environmental, social and economic challenges.
“He did not want Europe to reclaim the position of a “Global Head of Orchestra” and to impose its cultural values on the rest of the world. What he had in mind was rather inspiring and leading by example.
“The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation has completely overhauled the geopolitical situation on our continent, while demonstrating that the European Union is able to respond decisively.
“The events of the last weeks and months have shown, perhaps to the surprise of many external observers, that Europeans in a crisis triggered by an external threat are able to act very quickly, effectively and in a united way.
“Our culture of political dialogue and consensus-building that we have been forging for decades proves to be strength rather than a weakness of the European project.
“At the same time, European unity is not one of an authoritarian unanimity, but a unity in diversity of a multi-voice debate, which, however, is driven, by our common values, towards consensus,” he said. (NAN)
Edited by Isaac Aregbesola