I was pleased to get back from New Zealand this weekend just before the news broke that the All Blacks campaign had come to an abrupt end. As a Frenchman, I think I might have outstayed my welcome! Mind you, the news was not much better across the Tasman – a good day for the EU and a sad day for the southern hemisphere, but I have no doubt the day will come when you can turn the table!
But during my short stay in New Zealand, I have once more realised how deep and friendly our relations are. PM Helen Clark was last week in Brussels where she met President Barroso over lunch, when they both had the occasion to praise the new EU-NZ Joint Declaration – a tangible sign of even closer relations for the future. Trade of course is one sector where we can always try to improve our mutual performance but our cooperation goes far beyond a testimony of our common set of values.
Let’s take the example of political and development cooperation in the Pacific. During my stay in Wellington, we had extensive exchanges on the situation in the Pacific with my Member State colleagues, the heads of European Delegations in the Pacific, MFAT and NZAID. Starting from a convergent analysis of the situation in countries like Fiji, the Solomon Islands or Vanuatu, to take a few examples, we have decided that we should increase our development cooperation in the field to reach our common goals: that is essentially peace, stability and economic development for the benefit of the local population. We have no other goal, no hidden agenda other than to help those people take their destiny in their own hands for the benefit of their population.
Monday, 8 October 2007