2009-04-15

Central America and Europe strengthen relations at EuroLat

Speaking at the third session of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) held in Madrid from 6 to 8 April, Guatemala’s Vice-President Rafael Espada called attention to Central America’s need for continued European aid.

Speaking at the third session of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) held in Madrid from 6 to 8 April, Guatemala’s Vice-President Rafael Espada called attention to Central America’s need for continued European aid.

Karla Montaner

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Although developed countries are also being hard hit by the global economic crisis, Central America will continue to need international aid, at least until its financial system recovers. This was the message left by Rafael Espada, Guatemala’s vice-president, at the third Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat).

At the closing ceremony, Espada said he was satisfied by the “vision of global unity” achieved during the event.

The EuroLat Assembly consists of 150 members of the European Parliament, representatives of the Latin American, Andean, and Central American parliaments, representatives of Mercosur, and members of the EU-Mexico and EU-Chile joint parliamentary committees.

Espada, who was representing his country at the meeting which took place in Madrid, emphasised the existing ties between Central America and Europe. He told EFE that, “Central America is growing. In Guatemala, for example, tourism is increasing, the infrastructure has been improved, and we are producing more electricity with natural technology such as water and depending less on oil.

All the same, the global dimension of the present situation creates a need for greater collaboration with the Old World, especially if we are to withstand the social fallout from the worldwide depression.”

Espada warned, according to DPA, that without agreements that make provision for human welfare, increased poverty resulting from unemployment could create a “social tsunami”. He said that Central America and Europe were in “the century of unity” and there was no better time for mutual collaboration.

During the meeting, Spain donated US$50 million for “Water Sources of Peace,” a Guatemalan Health Ministry programme to provide impoverished regions with tap water. Espada also said the EU intends to provide US$1.2 billion in aid to Latin America, with US$50 million already earmarked for Guatemala.

Meanwhile, Diego Lopez Garrido, Spain’s secretary of state for the EU, urged Latin America to “look outwards and resist the temptations of nationalism.” According to Prensa Libre, he stressed the importance of following international examples and of forging an alliance between Europe and Latin America. Ties between the two continents are likely to be strengthened when Spain takes over the EU presidency on 1 January 2010.

Prensa Latina reported that the meeting adopted a Euro-Latin American Charter for Peace and Security, which establishes joint actions to combat drug trafficking, organised crime, terrorism, arms trafficking, and people trafficking.

The charter contains 20 articles on a wide range of issues, including cooperation on sustainable development and environmental protection, poverty, the UN Millennium Development Goals, food and energy security, climate change, and the right to water.

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