On 9 May 2024, the EU in South Africa, together with EU Member States, celebrated Europe Day.

Upon arrival, guests were able to peruse and indulge in the flavours of food and drinks from 22 mouth-watering stalls, representing various countries that comprise the European Union.

H.E. Ms Sandra Kramer welcomed members of the Diplomatic Corps, dignitaries, distinguished guests, and members of the European Union to the new premises for the European Union in South Africa, which symbolises the strong partnership between the EU and South Africa.

The celebration was essentially a peace project whose motto is “United in Diversity” because it is rooted in the belief that all men and women are equal. This peace project, which has for over 70 years delivered the longest, most stable, and most prosperous period in European history, also marks the 35th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. Additionally, it commemorates that 20 years ago, ten European countries joined the European Union shortly after breaking away from an invading force that unsuccessfully attempted to impose its political, ideological, and military force upon them. Today, the European Union is a supranational union of 27 European member states, comprising 450 million people. It is a peace project that is also the world’s largest single economic market, open to other European countries with a shared commitment to freedom, the rule of law, democracy, and social and economic growth.

H.E. Ms Kramer stated:

“Over the past two years, the European Union has welcomed nearly 6 million Ukrainian refugees with open arms.”

The European Union remains, year after year, the biggest provider of official development assistance globally, as well as humanitarian assistance. These European ideals of peace, solidarity, and international cooperation are familiar to South Africa because they underpin the strategic partnership between the EU and South Africa.

H.E. Ms Kramer concluded by dedicating this year’s celebration to the good health of President Ramaphosa, the people of South Africa, and the ever-closer bonds between the EU and South Africa.

Ms Makhotso Sotyu, Deputy Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, representing the South African Government, congratulated the European Union on this auspicious occasion. South Africa looks forward to hosting the 8th South African Europe Summit on a mutually agreeable date in the not-too-distant future. The EU is South Africa’s largest trading partner, with total trade having increased since the trade agreement. Over the years, the EU has been a major contributor to South Africa’s development agenda, remaining an important funder of health, education, and science in South Africa.

Deputy Minister Sotyu said:

“As we celebrate Europe Day, we look forward to the continuation of the excellent relations between South Africa and the European Union.”

The Minister proposed a toast, congratulating the European Union on this special occasion.

The evening ended with Grammy Award winner and singer-songwriter Nomcebo Zikode, who wowed the audience with her performance of the chart-topping hit, “Jerusalema.”

by Marion Kate