The sixth Summit between the EU and the 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean ended in Madrid today. At foreign minister level, with Germany represented by Minister of State Dr Werner Hoyer, comprehensive talks on current issues on the international agenda took place and the concluding documents for the Summit were prepared.
Minister of State Hoyer today (18 May) issued the following statement on the Summit:
“Congratulations are due to the Spanish EU Presidency for the Summit’s achievement in raising the status of relations between the EU and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Our partnership is built on common values. We share a cultural inheritance as well as the experience of cooperating over many years in the fields of politics, economics, culture and science and technology. We therefore have a duty to use our combined strength to make progress in finding solutions to global issues.”
The “Madrid Declaration” adopted by the heads of state and government underscores their resolve to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two regions. Together they are committed to multilateralism, disarmament and non-proliferation and human rights. The two regions want to work together to tackle the economic and financial crisis and also counter climate change and protectionist tendencies in world trade. There was agreement, too, on stepping up cooperation with regard to the Summit’s overarching theme of innovation and technology.
In Madrid, the political goals were underpinned by an Action Plan with clearly defined steps for the next two years. Among the priorities are environmental protection, climate change and cooperation on energy. The Federal Government made an important contribution prior to the Summit by organizing the EU-Latin America/Caribbean Forum on “Technical Cooperation, Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency”.
In Madrid, the partners agreed on the establishment of an EU-Latin America/Caribbean Foundation (EU-LAC Foundation). It is intended that the Foundation will elaborate strategies and implement measures that develop the bilateral partnership further. It is also hoped that the Foundation will enhance the inclusion of civil society in bi-regional cooperation.
Last and not least, the Summit was an important step in stimulating bilateral trade. In the Madrid Declaration the heads of state and government call for a swift conclusion to WTO negotiations. Closer cooperation was also agreed within the framework of the sub-regional summit meetings with the countries of Mercosur, Central America, the Andean Community, CARIFORUM and Mexico and Chile, especially with regard to trade. The EU and Mercosur decided to resume negotiations on an association agreement that had stalled in 2004. This agreement will create a union of more than 700 million people, one that will bring tangible advantages to the populations of both regions. The negotiations for an association agreement with Central America have almost been concluded, and a free trade agreement has been successfully negotiated with Colombia and Peru.