Brussels, 18 January 2013
Summit of the European Union and the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC): Creating Alliances for Investment and Sustainable Development
EU leaders will travel to Santiago, Chile, on 26-27 January for a summit with their counterparts from Latin America and the Caribbean under the theme "Alliance for Sustainable Development: Promoting Investments of Social and Environmental Quality". Bringing together the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the bi-regional partnership, the Summit will give new impetus to cooperation and the building of common positions on global issues and shared challenges. Summit discussions will also review political developments and address crucial issues and opportunities currently faced by the EU and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The EU will be represented at the Summit by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. A high level of participation is also expected from EU member states and virtually all leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to attend the Summit, hosted by President Piñera of Chile, which currently holds the CELAC Presidency.
The Summit will be prepared by a Meeting of Foreign Ministers on 25 January, co-chaired by Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security/Vice-President of the Commission, and Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno. Foreign Ministers will discuss the theme "working towards for growth and stability".
President Van Rompuy said: "In Santiago, we will reaffirm the strategic nature of our relationship based on common values. We will review the main challenges that the international community is facing and consider ways to strengthen our cooperation in working towards a more just, secure and prosperous world. We will discuss regional integration as well as cooperation on international fora."
President Barroso said: “Our longstanding partnership with Latin American and Caribbean countries is based on the conviction that both sides have common interests in today's inter-dependent world and greatly benefit from working together. The Summit will deal with a key aspect of our relationship: investment and sustainable development. The EU is not only the leading foreign investor in Latin America and the Caribbean, but also a committed partner in promoting sustainable development. Social and environmental responsibility must be a shared priority for the future of both regions”.
Latin America and the Caribbean have collectively enjoyed a strong economic performance in recent years (4.5% average GDP growth over the past three years at regional level). The EU remains one of the most important trade and investment partners for the CELAC region overall. The region is also increasingly influential at world level through the UN and G20. There is already close cooperation between the EU and the countries of the region on a number of global challenges including human rights and the death penalty, gender, rights of the child, climate change and sustainable development, with strong potential to develop cooperation further.
Summit discussions will cover topics such as trade and investment, legal security, sustainable development and corporate social responsibility. Leaders will work together on a Summit Declaration that will cover the international arena, progress in the bi-regional partnership process and the promotion of investments of economic, social and environmental quality.
In Santiago, the Action Plan adopted at the last EU-LAC summit in Madrid (May 2010) will be expanded. New chapters on gender – to strengthen gender equality and foster fair and egalitarian societies – and on investment are expected to be added.
European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani will be in Chile accompanied by a large business delegation composed of 51 representatives of 40 European companies and industry associations, from ten EU Member States. This is part of a series of "Missions for Growth" to help European businesses, in particular small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), to better profit from fast-growing emerging international markets. Vice-President Tajani will hold a range ministerial-level meetings intended to deepen the implementation of political agreements signed in June 2011 with the Chilean authorities on SME development, industrial cooperation, tourism and space. Discussions will also focus on encouraging the promotion of clusters and business networks to boost SME internationalisation.
European Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht, will also be in Santiago and will use the opportunity to engage with counterparts from the region on the trade agenda, giving particular priority to ensuring progress allowing for an imminent provisional application of free trade agreements with Colombia and Peru, and of the trade pillar of the Association Agreement with Central America.
Throughout the discussions in Santiago at all levels, the EU side will stress the importance of an open, transparent, non-discriminatory, stable and business-friendly environment. Legal certainty for investors is essential for the fostering of high-quality, socially responsible investment. The EU will also underline the importance of promoting open trade and refraining from protectionist measures so as to ensure continued growth and development. It will also underline its readiness to work together with LAC partners on Corporate Social Responsibility, which is an integral part of the EU's investment strategy.
The Santiago summit will be the EU's seventh summit since the inaugural EU-LAC summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1999, which launched a "strategic partnership" between the two regions. It will be the first Summit with CELAC - the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States - as the EU's counterpart.
Presidents Van Rompuy and Barroso and Commissioner De Gucht will also participate in the Business Summit, which will bring together businessmen, political leaders and business-related institutions from both regions. The central topic will be ‘Investments for Economic Growth, Social Inclusion and Environmental Sustainability’.
See also MEMO/13/15