9 May 2020/OACPS: The Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States has enjoyed a close working partnership with the European Union since 1957. Our collaboration has positively impacted and transformed the lives of the peoples of the OACPS as well as that of the citizens of Europe. Together, Europe and the OACPS have taken great strides towards the socio-economic advancement of our countries. During these 63 years, our partnership has gone well beyond development cooperation and now encompasses trade, economics, politics, environment, culture and people-to-people exchanges.

In addition to the many successes registered, we have also withstood trials and gone through many transitions that redefined and further strengthened EU – OACPS relations. The most recent of these transitions occurred in April 2020, when the constitutive act of the ACP, the Georgetown Agreement was revised; thus transforming the ACP Group to the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).

As the OACPS shapes the future of our cooperation with the European Union through the ongoing Post-Cotonou Negotiations, we reflect on the power of multilateralism and the strength that there is in Unity – a unity that in 2015, saw us pooling our considerable joint resources to adopt the Paris Agreement at COP-21.

This year, Europe Day 2020, celebrated annually on 9 May, pays tribute to the many Europeans who are on the frontlines during the COVID-19 crisis. The OACPS stands in solidarity with the EU at this crucial moment in our joint history, realising that global crises call for global solutions. The EU is home to many descendants of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Regions of the OACPS, who, in the true spirit of solidarity, are working shoulder-to-shoulder with their counterparts to protect the lives and health of citizens, and mitigate the socio-economic impact of the outbreak.

On the occasion of Europe Day 2020, we congratulate our European brothers and sisters on the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, which laid the foundation for the EU. Given the extraordinary times we live in right now, we further recognise and salute the dedicated men and women working to ensure a better and brighter future for the EU and the world. As we move forward on the uncertain terrain created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we hold firm to the belief that we can and will survive through holding fast to the principles of solidarity, peace and unity – the same principles that have guided Europe for the last 70 years.