EU, LatAm-Caribbean leaders conclude ‘fruitful’ summit

Brussels,  (IANS) European Commission (EC) president Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Council chief Donald Tusk and Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa concluded on Thursday a “fruitfull” summit that brought together the leaders the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), Efe news agency reported.

Correa, whose country chairs the pro-tempore presidency of Celac for this year, said that the summit’s meetings have been very “fruitful” to the international political paradigm, stressing that 61 sovereign states participated in the summit, almost one-third of the UN’s member countries.

Tusk, meanwhile, confirmed the “strategic nature” of the EU-Celac partnership, stressing that the two sides were valuable partners in tackling “global challenges” to achieve a more “balanced world order”.

On his part, Jean-Claude Juncker noted that the EU looked with great interest upon the process of “integration” in Latin America and the Caribbean, adding that “the European Union has always supported Celac and the European Union will continue to support our friends” with commitment and conviction.

Correa said that Celac has repeatedly confirmed its commitment to protecting the environment, which was among the topics of discussion at the summit and will be the main topic of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on November 30.

The summit also tackled immigration, an issue that must be addressed at “a global level”, as well as the issue of security, according to the Ecuadorian president.

Correa remarked that Celac “celebrates life” and rejects all forms of violence and terrorism.

He also noted that the EU and Celac have discussed free trade and the methods of addressing inequality, which he described as the “original sin” of Latin America.

Donald Tusk reminded that the summit’s leaders agreed to “deepen relationships” through holding annual ministerial meetings in the periphery of the biennial summit.

The EC president added that EU and Celac should expand their dialogue to new fields.

The regions agreed to broaden the scope of their work, including higher education and public security, Tusk explained, expressing his satisfaction with the agreement reached for transforming the EU-LAC foundation into an international organization.

Tusk, also a former Polish prime minister, highlighted that it would be normal if the two sides “do not agree on everything”, and assured that concluding the summit did not imply that everything has been accomplished, but that there was more to do.

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