President Museveni has said the relations between Uganda and the European Union continue to grow stronger with solid vibrant collaboration and partnerships since the mid-1970s in the economic, political, social and cultural fields.

PM Rugunda shakes hands with EU Ambassador, Attilio as Mrs Pacifici(L) and other EU officials look on during the Europe Day celebrations at the EU Ambassador’s residence in Kololo on Wednesday(Photo by PMPU)

The President made the remarks in his speech that was delivered by the Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda during the 68th Europe Day celebrations organized under the theme “Cultural Heritage” at the EU Ambassador’s residence in Kololo on Wednesday.

President Museveni congratulated European Union upon celebrating its 68th Anniverary.

“Because of the partnership, we are making progress in strengthening government functions relating to financial, democratic and social accountability. We have improved access to justice, protection of human rights and democracy, and strengthened investigative and legal institutions,” Museveni said.

He added that the European Union has greatly contributed towards the maintenance of regional and international peace and security.

“Uganda remains committed to working with the European Union in effectively addressing the peace and security challenges in the great lakes region and beyond. We immensely appreciate your support to AMISOM and look forward to continued support in the stabilization of Somalia, and other hotspots in the region,” Mr. Museveni said.

The President also highlighted some of the key development initiatives by the European Union through the European Development Fund 2014-2020 and other EU programs which have improved livelihoods in Uganda and also blended with the Country’s Vision 2040 and National Development Plan.

PM Rugunda (R) and EU Ambassador Attilio (L) toast during the Europe Day celebrations at the EU Ambassador’s residence in Kololo on Wednesday(Photo by PMPU)

“We have made remarkable progress in infrastructure as a country with support from the European Union and we continue to improve and modernize, the agricultural sector through introduction of modern technology in order to increase productivity and address the threat to food security,” Museveni said.

President Museveni also commended EU for making the largest contribution towards supporting the refugees during the Solidarity Summit on Refugees which was hosted by President Museveni and UN Secretary General Antonio Guteres in Kampala, last year.

He Pleadged Uganda’s continued commitment to strengthening the business ties and expanding cooperation with EU in all areas including tourism, investment and trade.

The EU Ambassador, His Excellency, Attilio Pacifici, said Europe has managed to celebrate and embrace its cultural diversity over the past years, a value that has enabled it to achieve and maintain peace as well as implement its programmes.

“The way of thinking and interacting of our people has become less national, which is a great spirit that Europe needs to continue moving forward. However, the best way to participate in the European journey and fully appreciate the continent’s achievements and the strength of its diversity is not to forget who we are at a national and local level,” Ambassador Pacifici said.

He said cultural heritage shapes people’s identities and lives in terms of towns, villages, natural landscapes, archaeological sites, literature and arts among others. He also said promoting and preserving cultural heritage boosts tourism.

PM Rugunda signs the Visitor’s book as EU Ambassador, Attilio Pacifici looks on during the Europe Day celebrations at the EU Ambassador’s residence in Kololo on Wednesday(PMPU PHOTO)

“The historic, cultural and natural heritage is the most valuable tangible and intangible asset of a country which should be valued, protected and preserved. Tourists come to visit museums, historic places, walk on our mountains, swim in our seas, taste our food, learn local traditions, watch the performance of local artists, enjoy the wilderness of national parks, forests and wildlife. They never get tired of it and they keep coming,” Pacifici said.

He said this year, the EU is committed to supporting Uganda to revitalize its historic, cultural and natural heritage through emblematic initiatives such as, working with Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda to identify historical buildings in the country for protection and organizing of the Euro-Uganda film festival in June to present movies and short films celebrating Europe and Uganda cultural heritage.

Other initiatives include, adoption of a Baby Rhino to help repopulate Uganda National Parks with an aim of boosting the tourism industry and financing of the Yat Madit soap opera production which promotes alternative ways of solving conflicts leading to social cohesion, reconciliation and lasting peace in Northern Uganda communities among others.

Attilio also pledged EU continued commitment and support to Uganda in key areas of economic opportunities for the youth, peace and security, mobility and migration and cooperation on governance among others.

“We understand that attracting responsible private sector investments and generating jobs, particularly for young people are crucial priorities for Uganda and we will continue sensitizing EU investors about the opportunities offered by the Ugandan market,” said the EU Ambassador.

He also commended Uganda for its role and contribution in maintaining peace and stability in the region through AMISOM.

Ends 

Friday, May 11, 2018

BY DOREEN NASASIRA