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Brussels, 06 May 2008
60 Heads of State and Government from the EU Member States, Latin America and the Caribbean will gather in Lima, Peru, on May the 16th for the V EU-LAC Summit. The EU and Latin American and Caribbean leaders will debate two key themes for the bi-regional agenda: poverty reduction and social cohesion; and environment, climate change and sustainable development. The Summit should reinforce cooperation and partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean on these key subjects, and it will allow participants to voice strong support for Association Agreements with two Latin American regional organizations, the Andean Community and Central America. The European Commission will be represented by the President of the Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso. Commissioners for External Relations and Neighborhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, for Trade, Peter Mandelson, and for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, will also participate.
President Barroso said before the Summit "The EU, Latin America and the Caribbean region must enhance their cooperation to face common challenges ahead, from climate change to tacking full advantage of globalization and economic growth for the benefit of a majority of our citizens. We are determined to support the efforts of our partners in fighting poverty and strengthening democracy and social cohesion."
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner said "Today the fight against poverty has a new challenge: to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and the conservation and sustainable exploitation of the biodiversity, natural resources and energy. The EU and Latin America should integrate this new challenge into our dialogue and our joint policy response for the benefit of our people. We can become a world steering force if we address it together."
"As regional markets grow and a former focus on exports to the US is replaced by more diversified trade, Europe will continue to be a close partner for Latin America. In the Caribbean we will be marking the transformation of our trade relations through the signing of an economic partnership agreement that will bring our economies closer together and encourage diversification and development. We will pursue ongoing FTA negotiations with Central America, the Andean Community and Mercosur. I hope that this Summit will reinforce our mutual commitment to close trading ties and an open global economy - including through the successful completion of the WTO Doha trade talks." added Commissioner Mandelson.
The European Union-Latin America-Caribbean Summits are, above all, an occasion to strengthen and consolidate the bi-regional Strategic Partnership and have become unique opportunities to develop a fruitful and frank dialogue at the highest level between Heads of State and Government of both regions on issues of common interest.
The EU-LAC strategic partnership, which began with the first Summit of Heads of State and Government of both regions in Rio in 1999 and was consolidated and strengthened in Madrid (2002), Guadalajara (2004) and Vienna (2006), reflects the increasing convergence of interests and values as well as the desire of both parties to further consolidate and strengthen their relationship in the future.
The 5th EU-LAC Summit in Lima (Peru) on 16-17 May 2008 will be a further opportunity to consolidate this partnership. The Summit will address the major challenges frankly and openly, and assess recent developments in both regions. It will also provide an opportunity to give more visibility to the extensive cooperation between the two partners, and to analyse the actions and policies undertaken within the EU-LAC Strategic Partnership. The Summit will particularly focus on the fight against poverty, inequality and exclusion, or the promotion of social cohesion, and on important environmental issues, including climate change, energy and biodiversity.
In the running up to the Lima Summit, a number of important preparatory events have taken place, such as the EU-LAC Ministerial Conference on the Environment and the 3rd EU-LAC experts Meeting on migration, both in Brussels in March 2008.
The Summit will be preceded the on May 15th by the second EU-LAC Business Forum bringing together business and political leaders from Europe and LAC to discuss the major economic issues facing our economies, and will be followed in May 17th by Summits between the EU and Mexico, Chile, the Andean Community and Central America, among others.
Building on long-existing relations between the two regions, the European Union (EU) has established and built up links with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) since the 1960s and 1970s respectively.
The relationship between the two regions has evolved substantially and today’s partnership reflects the increasing importance and growing potential of the Latin American and Caribbean region, and the will of both parties to further strengthen the relationship in the future. The EU is an important economic and political partner for the region. It is the leading donor in the region, the first foreign investor and the second most important trade partner.
Already today, the EU and LAC are working closely together and/or have many shared views and common principles, at multilateral level, in addressing global challenges such as the fight against poverty and climate change.
For further information on the Summit: