September 20, 2020

2015, a momentous year for EU-Caribbean relations

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Federica Mogherini, next to a miniature of the European flagFrom T&T Guardian

The people of Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe have a long history of common aspirations.

Nowadays we share a wish for peace and prosperity that our cultural and historical roots have helped to strengthen from generation to generation.

That is why I am particularly glad—and honoured by the invitation—to have participated at the celebration of the third Summit of CELAC, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which was be hosted in San José that started on Jan 28th.

The Summit in San José was an opportunity for me to hear first-hand the hopes and ambitions that this great region has for itself, for its citizens and for all of us, as CELAC countries continue to assert their role in the wider world on issues that concern us all: climate change, energy, human rights, security, trade, culture.

In such a fragmented world, where development and democracy are so threatened, we were asked as Europeans, Latin Americans and Caribbean’s to work on new perspectives for a safe space of peace and dialogue. That’s why Europe is following closely the debate on deeper integration that is going on in Latin America and the Caribbean.

I wase in San José to work with your leaders, to see how the EU-CELAC partnership can be of most value to us all.

This partnership between our two regions is very much needed in an ever-more complex world, where key principles of the international order are at stake. We, together, can influence decisions on important issues that touch us all.

As for climate change, CELAC countries are partners committed to carrying forward this agenda and I welcome the excellent management by Peru of last December’s Conference of the Parties (COP).

We now need to build on the outcome of Lima, and work hard to achieve a global, legally binding agreement at the Paris conference next December.

Another global issue where EU and CELAC countries can further join forces is the fight against poverty.

A lot has been achieved in the last decade in Latin America and the Caribbean—poverty has been reduced almost by half.

We will co-ordinate messages and join our voices in the global discussions about sustainable development (the so-called UN post-2015 development agenda), so that the voices of our people can be heard in the call for a fairer world.

However, there can be no real development without security, in all its aspects. The EU and CELAC countries have an opportunity and a responsibility to do more together, in the fight against organised crime and drug trafficking, in combating terrorism and restoring peace in post-conflict situations in the Americas and further afield. Security is a common challenge that needs to be addressed in partnership not only by law enforcement but also with social and economic development and growth, the creation of new jobs, overcoming social injustice and the defence of human dignity.

Here again, deep economic ties unite our people across the Ocean.

The EU is the second trade partner and the first foreign investor of the CELAC region with an impressive current stock of investments of €464 billion, greater than EU investments in China, India and Russia combined.

I think it is fair also to define EU investments as quality investments, socially responsible, that bring added value in terms of job creation, technology transfer, research and innovation.

Sustainable development and corporate social reponsibility lie at the heart of our trade agreements, which we hope to expand further with the region. But trade and economy are a two-way street.

With such a wealth of opportunities, with so many ways to turn our challenges into joint success stories, let us look forward to the summits, knowing that the EU-CELAC partnership can truly make a difference, on both shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Federica Mogherini is the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and

Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.

IMAGE: FEDERICA MOGHERINI

For more on this story go to: http://www.guardian.co.tt/commentary/2015-01-30/2015-momentous-year-eu-caribbean-relations

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