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José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement by President Barroso following the EU-Latin America and Caribbean Summit

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Joint Press conference

Madrid, 18 May 2010

Good afternoon. I would like to thank Spain and President Zapatero for hosting today's Summit.

The truth is that we are sailing in rough seas in economic terms but we have to stay on an even keel and maintain our determination to confront the current global crisis and to find global responses, of course, taking into account the different situations.

We had intense and vivid exchanges. Firstly, at the top of our agenda was how to work together to address the current global economic situation including the challenges and priorities for the upcoming G20 summits.

The political impetus must also be kept in tackling other critical challenges such as climate change. And we have also discussed in detail some ideas on how the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean can work together to make the Cancun Summit a success.

We have shown today that it is not only about rhetoric, it is about results. Our deeds must match our words.

We have opened a groundbreaking chapter in the EU relationship with our LAC partners and friends.

This morning the European Commission and Central America countries successfully concluded negotiations on a new Association Agreement.

I am also extremely happy that we have agreed to resume negotiations for an Association Agreement with Mercosur. Clear economic benefits for both the EU and Mercosur will be obtained if we succeed in concluding an Agreement. This agreement would also enhance our political coordination in tackling the major challenges we face today.

And another concrete result to be marked at the Summit is the conclusion of negotiations for a Multi-party Trade Agreement with Colombia and Peru.

All these significant outcomes in favour of stronger trade and investment links between our regions present enormous opportunities to be seized as we look to strengthen the global economy after the downturn.

A great deal of growth in the future will come from external demand. Promoting more open economies, more trade exchanges and investment is a concrete way to support growth and development.

I also want to recognize in this regard the valuable input to the work of the Summit of the results of the third EU-Latin America Caribbean Business Forum.

Supporting economic actors is a crucial aspect of our partnership and that is why the official launch today of the Latin American Investment Facility (LAIF), proposed by the Commission, will strengthen our efforts in this area.

We have dedicated to this mechanism €125 million of grants up to 2013, which could leverage investments well in excess of €3 billion.

Finally, we have agreed on the creation of the EU-LAC Foundation, which will be central for the development of our relations also in terms of civil society. It will also strive to make our strategic Partnership better known to the people of our respective countries.

A final word of solidarity with the people of Haïti and Chile so severely tested by the power of nature. The first point of our meeting was to reiterate solidarity with Haïti. We haven't forgotten the tragedy of Haïti and there are firm commitments for the future.

I would like to congratulate President Van Rompuy for his very effective way to conduct our work in the plenary and President Cristina Kirchner for her enthusiasm, for her belief in the strategic importance of a close relation between Latin America and Europe.

Thank you very much.

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