Today, May 9, is Europe Day – the day that marks the anniversary of the so-called 1950 “Schuman Declaration”. In his address, the then French Minister of Foreign Affairs laid out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, based on concrete measures to foster solidarity. The goal was to make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable. By sharing parts of their sovereignty, the nations of Europe ushered in the longest period of peace in their history and set themselves up to have real influence in the world.

Europe has been on the front page many times in recent years. Its difficulties tend to overshadow its successes. Success of generating peace and prosperity. Success of bringing our people closer and in optimizing the benefits of a connectivity which turned the European Union into the world’s largest economy. Success in realizing that a joint engagement is more efficient than an addition of isolated actions in order to tackle global challenges such as climate change. Success in promoting the common values of democracy, good governance and human rights, all being essential prerequisite to secure longstanding development and the well-being of all our citizens.

While some in Europe rally behind the dark flags of the past, peace should never be taken for granted. Nationalism obstructs the legacy of a generation who taught us that the brightest pages of History are those written collectively. Protectionism narrows down the capacity to see cooperation and solidarity as a generator of wealth and stability, and isolation hampers our ability to tackle common challenges more efficiently.

On this day of celebration, one should praise the vision of the EU’s founding fathers who did not turn the pain of war into a quest for revenge but into an opportunity of progress. One can witness every day and in many fields that the EU is not only an ideal but a strong reality. The EU is one of the largest areas of freedom, with the free circulation of people, goods, services and capital. It is the largest market and greatest commercial power on the planet. Our economy benefited from the transformation of national markets into a single market of 513 million consumers where regulatory barriers that once limited business horizons were brought down. At the same time, it is the region in which wealth is the most shared. And solidarity the most active as the EU and its member states remain the largest contributor to humanitarian and development assistance worldwide.

Contrary to negative propaganda spread over the past years, 67% of EU citizens think that membership to the EU benefit their country. Three weeks before the election of the 751-member European Parliament, democracy in the EU remains also very much alive. The European Union is today the only international body with representatives directly elected by its people.

The EU also finds its strength in the bounds it created with partners all over the world over the past decades. Pakistan is obviously one of those partners, with which the EU shares common ambition, challenges and priorities. As bilateral trade has increased significantly since the implementation of the GSP+ scheme in 2014, we believe in the mutual benefit of our partnership. We also trust our joint capacity to eradicate extreme poverty, and that by doing so, to eliminate the roots of future conflicts, notably fueled by the competition for resources. While showing solidarity, the EU also wants to promote the added value of a fair regional integration, driven by the ambition of the common good.

Europe Day is an opportunity to take one step back and to look at these incommensurable accomplishments driven by the sole ambition of peace, prosperity and solidarity. There are many reasons to look back with pride and look forward with hope and determination in fighting global threats together with other partners seeking stronger governance at global level.