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EU-Latin American and Caribbean Summit: moving the strategic partnership forward

European Commission - IP/04/674   25/05/2004

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IP/04/674

Brussels, 25 May 2004

EU-Latin American and Caribbean Summit: moving the strategic partnership forward
The 25 Heads of State and Government of the European Union and the 33 of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) will hold their 3rd Summit in Guadalajara (Mexico) on 28 May 2004. President Prodi, accompanied by four Commissioners, External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten, Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, Agriculture and Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler, and Commissioner Joe Borg, will attend the Summit. The Summit should make substantial progress on two priority areas, namely social cohesion and regional integration, as well as increase bi-regional cooperation in multilateral fora. This will be the first Summit of the enlarged EU. Bilateral and regional meetings will complete in-depth discussions with Latin America and Caribbean countries, including an EU-Mercosur Ministerial Meeting to progress on the negotiation of an Association Agreement.

The Commission’s priorities for the Summit, social cohesion, regional integration and effective multilateralism, are intrinsically linked. Addressing the high level of social exclusion throughout the LAC region would contribute greatly to the consolidation of democratic institutions and to sustainable economic development. The Commission is committed to fight social exclusion and poverty in the region and has launched a "social cohesion initiative"[1] aiming at putting social cohesion issues at the core of our relations, encouraging Latin American governments to face this challenge by improving social policies and reforming their fiscal systems.

Further steps towards regional and sub-regional integration will accelerate economic growth, as well as facilitate further progress in the strategic bi-regional EU-LAC partnership. In economic terms, greater regional integration will help the region to fulfil its potential and facilitate the insertion of the individual countries into the international markets. Politically, it will allow Latin America to become a more influential player on the global scene.

An effective multilateral system, with the UN at its centre to which the EU and Latin America are committed, is essential in confronting the formidable challenges facing the world: poverty; hunger; abuses of human rights; terrorism; weapons of mass destruction; illegal trafficking; HIV/ AIDS; and environmental degradation.

Summit agenda

Monday 24 May

10:00 – 19:00 Meeting of the Latin-American and Caribbean Follow-up Committee on ALC-EU III Summit

European Union Senior Officials Meeting

Tuesday 25 May

10:00 – 19:00 ALC-EU Senior Officials XIV Biregional Group Meeting

Wednesday 26 May

During the day Style Committee meeting

Thursday 27 May

09:00 – 13:00 Latin America and the Caribbean Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting

European Union Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting

13:10 – 13:20 Ceremony for the Issuance of the Summit Commemorative Stamp.

13:20 – 14:50 Working Lunch offered by the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista, to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs attending the Summit.

14:50 – 15:20 Presentation and Conclusions of Preparatory Meetings

15:30 – 19:00 ALC-EU Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting

During the day: EU-Mercosur Trade Ministerial meeting

Friday 28 May

09:00 – 09:30 Inauguration of the ALC-EU Heads of State and/or Government IIII Summit

09:35 – 12:05 Working Tables on Multilateralism

12:30 – 13:40 Lunch offered by the President of Mexico, Mr. Vicente Fox Quesada, to the Heads of Delegation attending the ALC-EU III Summit.

14:00 – 16:30 Working Tables on Social Cohesion

17:30 – 18:30 Reporting Session and Closing Ceremony

18:35 – 19:05 Press Conference

Saturday 29 May

During the day Regional Meetings with the participants in the ALC-EU III Summit

Background

The first Summit between the Heads of State and Government of Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union was held in Rio de Janeiro on 28 and 29 June 1999. The Summit was convened as a result of the political will to enhance bi-regional relations and its objective was to strengthen political, economic and cultural understanding between the two regions in order to develop a strategic partnership.

The three strategic dimensions of this partnership are: a fruitful political dialogue respectful of international law and based on the strong attachment of both regions to multilateralism; solid economic and financial relations based on a comprehensive and balanced liberalisation of trade and capital flows; and more dynamic and creative co-operation in the educational, scientific, technological, cultural, human and social fields.

On 17 May 2002, the second EU-Latin America Summit took place in Madrid. This Summit consolidated the process which began in Rio de Janeiro and confirmed both regions’ commitment to the development of the bi-regional strategic partnership.

Substantial progress has been made towards fulfilling the Madrid commitments, including the signature of the EU-Chile Association agreement in November 2002 and the conclusions of negotiations of Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreements with Central America and the Andean Community, signed in Rome in December 2003.

The European Union is Latin America’s second biggest trading partner. The European Union has gradually strengthened its economic and trade links with Latin America, resulting in trade figures that more than doubled between 1990 and 2002. European Union imports from Latin America increased from €26.7 to €53.7 billion, and exports to the region rose from €17.1 to €57.5 billion[2]. This positive trend is bound to be reinforced with the enlargement of the European Union.

The EU is also the most important source of foreign direct investment (FDI) for Latin America. Flows of European FDI to Latin America peaked in 2000 and have since diminished. However, the total stock of European investment in Latin America grew from €176.5 billion in 2000 to €206.1 billion in 2002[3].

The EU is the leading donor of development assistance for Latin America. In addition to the contributions from the Member States, since 1996 the European Community budget for Latin America has totalled more than €500 million[4] per year. Furthermore, between 2000 and 2003 the European Investment Bank invested €1,104 million in the form of loans for projects of mutual interest to the countries of the European Union and Latin America.

Further information on the EU's relations with Latin America at

http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/la/index.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/trade/issues/bilateral/regions/lac/index_en.htm

and on the EU’s external assistance to Latin America at

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/projects/amlat/index_fr.htm


[1] IP/04/675: EUROSociAL: supporting social cohesion in Latin America

[2] These figures include the Andean Community, the Caribbean region, Central America,

Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mercosur and Mexico

[3] These figures include the Andean Community, the Caribbean region, Central America, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mercosur and Mexico

[4] These figures include the Andean Community, the Caribbean region, Central America, Chile, Cuba, Mercosur and Mexico


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