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EU Agencies

EU Boosts Trade with Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is welcomed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the day of the summit between the leaders of the European Union (EU) and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in Brussels, Belgium July 17, 2023. REUTERS/Yves Herman

The two blocs are meeting at a summit in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday in a bid to strengthen their trade deals.

Almost all of them will be there. Nearly thirty of the thirty-three leaders of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) are meeting in Brussels on Monday July 17 and Tuesday July 18 for a summit with the European Union, the first since 2015. For the community executive and the current Spanish presidency of the EU, having succeeded in convincing all these heads of state and government, in particular the Brazilian president, Lula – but not the Mexican president, Lopez Obrador , whose country is the second largest economy in the area – to reach the European capital, constitutes a small success. The objective of this high-level meeting is relatively simple, it is explained, both in Brussels and in Paris: to relaunch the relationship between the two parts of the world.

“Strengthening our partnership with this region is a strategic imperative, judge Josep Borrell, the head of European diplomacy and one of the linchpins of this summit. We are among the most aligned regions in the world in terms of interests and values. Beyond that, Europe hopes to deepen mutual economic and commercial ties, in order to diversify its supplies, particularly of critical materials, to break out of its dependence on China.

However, nothing was easy to get along between the two regions. Firstly because of the format of this meeting. Without a secretariat, Celac has a rotating presidency, lacking in resources. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was tasked with negotiating the final declaration with Brussels. “A nightmare,” slips one of the negotiators. Each country slips in its proposal, without filter, this leads to endless discussions. »

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Especially since the subjects of tension between the two continents are numerous. First and foremost is the issue of the war in Ukraine. If the Europeans pleaded to include in the final declaration a condemnation of the conflict started by Russia, the South American states remained more divided. Most of these countries have certainly voted in favor of a resolution at the United Nations condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but they do not want to go further. In their eyes, it is a European war above all.

This article is originally published on lemonde.fr


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