The President of the Government of Spain gives an address at the opening session of the EU-CELAC Summit

Sánchez: "The EU-CELAC Summit is an opportunity to build a road map in the face of global challenges such as climate change and irregular migration"

President's News - 2023.7.17

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Pedro Sánchez reiterated that this meeting represents a historic opportunity to continue promoting and fine-tuning this relationship and stressed that Spain has made it a priority to strengthen the ties that unite the two regions.

Pedro Sánchez today highlighted the historical, cultural, economic and social links that the EU has with Latin America and the Caribbean, and stressed that this is the best guarantee for renewing a strategic bi-regional alliance that will offer enormous opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. "Today, more than ever, it is necessary to renew our shared trust in the values of multilateralism," said President Sánchez, stressing the peaceful resolution of conflicts, the principles of the United Nations, the protection of human rights, the freedom of peoples and respect for the territorial integrity of states.

"This old Europe, bearing the scars of ancient conflicts, well knows what it means to ignore the lessons of history", said the Prime Minister, highlighting the creation of the European project by a small group of courageous leaders. "There is no greater tribute to these pioneers of the European project than to persevere relentlessly in such an endeavour", he stressed.

Pedro Sánchez reiterated that Spain assumes the Presidency of the Council of the European Union with the aim of moving towards a fairer, more united and resilient Europe, and indicated that, in order to achieve this objective, it is a priority to consolidate the strategic relations that the EU maintains with partners such as Latin America and the Caribbean. "The current geopolitical, environmental and social context requires us to redouble our efforts and adapt bi-regional cooperation to challenges that cannot be delayed," explained the president, reiterating that the objective is to build more prosperous and fairer societies.

As Pedro Sánchez recalled, over the last four years, bilateral trade in goods between the two regions has increased by 40%, an increase that translates into a total volume of 369 billion euros in bi-regional trade in 2022. These figures, he underlined, show the strong network of agreements that have been forged in recent times, but are also an indicator of what we can still achieve together.

In this context, he recalled the importance of concluding and implementing agreements such as those reached between the EU and Chile, Mexico, Mercosur or Central America, as these will be beneficial for both Europe and Latin America and will help to address three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental aspects.

In this regard, Pedro Sánchez stressed that the EU is today the leading investor in Latin America and that it is essential to continue to improve its impact and sustainability by promoting bi-regional dialogue. "It is a key element to better understand shared needs and to direct our common efforts to address them effectively," the President said. He referred to the investment agenda in the region that will be promoted during the EU-CELAC Summit and which will be followed up in the short term at the Ministerial in Santiago de Compostela in September. "This will serve to strengthen relations between Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union through direct investment by European companies," he said, recalling that these are tangible investments that generate formal employment in the region and linkages with the Latin American and Caribbean ecosystem. Pedro Sánchez assured that Europe has the opportunity today to encourage private sector participation, support the green and digital transition in the region and give continuity to the EU-LAC Digital Alliance.

In addition, at a national level, President Sánchez recalled that Spain will contribute to the Global Gateway initiative with a funding package of 9.4 billion euros over the next few years. "In short, to build prosperity and to do so with the aim of creating fairer societies," he reiterated.

The President of the Government has insisted on the need to apply a human dimension to relations between the two regions in order to understand the different realities, which, in turn, are crossed by common interests. "I convey this message to both sides, from a Spain that is committed to its Latin American brothers and that will never abdicate the European ideal, so admired in Latin America", he said, quoting the words of the Colombian author Héctor Abad Faciolince, who was accompanying the writer Victoria Amelina on the day she was mortally wounded in Ukraine: "The world will never be Paradise; but a united Europe is the least Hell-like experiment that has yet been made on the face of the earth.

Thus, President Sánchez recalled, this Summit is an opportunity to build a road map and a permanent mechanism for consultation and agreement on global challenges that affect both regions equally, such as climate change, irregular migration and inequality.

Non official translation