The CELAC-EU has begun its opening academic sessions, which started January 22nd and will run until the 23rd. The actual summit itself will run January 26th- 27th.
EU, Peru and Columbia Trade Agreement
With the trade agreement between the EU, Peru and Columbia which was ratified by EU Parliament last December set to take effect in February, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, arrived early for the EU-CELAC summit to meet with Peru’s President Ollanta Humala. Ashton told reporters that the meeting would focus on “Working together for growth and sustainability” as well as noting the importance of “focusing on small and medium-sized businesses” in relation to the trade agreement. Ashton also noted that the meeting wold also include discussions of drug trafficking, climate change and social inclusion.
A Cry for Equitable Relations
Representatives from over 200 universities and study centers as well as the most senior representative of this United Nations regional commission, Alicia Barcena, were present at the first ever CELAC-EU Acdemic Summit on January 23. Barcena made a presentation based on the document European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean: Investments for growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability (http://www.eclac.cl/cgi-bin/getProd.asp?xml=/publicaciones/xml/2/48082/P48082.xml&xsl=/tpl-i/p9f.xsl&base=/prensa/tpl-i/top-bottom.xslt), which was made available to leaders attending the summit. Barcena stressed the importance of FDI (foreign direct investment) in developing production structure, which she stated would have positive effects on employment and governments ability to take care of the environment and social rights. Barcena stated that the partners must strive towards fairer trade relations, stating, “Latin America and the Caribbean must build a more symmetrical and equitable relationship with Europe”. The EU is the largest direct investor and second trading partner, as well as its main cooperator of the Latin American and Caribbean region. However, European investment has tended to target South America while the United States has been the main FDI investor in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.