Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union: a cooperation agenda

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador inaugurated this December 2, together with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the Summit of Leaders of Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union .

The summit was the first step towards relaunching the dialogue at the highest level between the two regions, which had been interrupted since 2015, and also included the participation of the heads of state of Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala and Suriname, who currently hold the presidencies of different regional mechanisms.

The main objective of the virtual meeting, entitled “Joining forces for a sustainable post-COVID-19 recovery”, was to exchange perspectives on the challenge that the pandemic has represented for all our societies and, in particular, for people living in poverty.

Likewise, a conversation was generated on other priority topics such as investment in infrastructure, digital connectivity and the strengthening of sustainable economic systems.

This exchange was imperative. The European Union and Latin America share values, objectives and a strategic alliance that take on special relevance in an increasingly segmented and polarized world. International cooperation that should overcome nationalist interests at times so complex for humanity must regain its priority place.

The President of Mexico, in his capacity as President for the time being Celac, reiterated the urgency of implementing the following measures, if we really intend to overcome the challenges that the health crisis continues to impose on us: 1) Recognize the failure of the Covax mechanism and comply with the commitments assumed by the international community to provide it with sufficient vaccines ; 2) Guarantee the direct donation of vaccines by countries with significant production; and 3) Promote before the WHO that the use of all vaccines that have proven to be effective be authorized, regardless of their origin.

A humanistic vision that meets the needs of the most deprived people is of special importance at this time. The emergence of the omicron variant of the SARS-Cov-2 virus reminded us in the clearest way that if we do not advance together, neither advance.

In this logic, President López Obrador called on the participating leaders to support the World Welfare and Fraternity Plan, which he presented last November at the United Nations Security Council, with which a voluntary contribution fund would be established. that would allow lifting more than 750 million people out of extreme poverty worldwide.

The link between the lack of access to vaccines and poverty is not fortuitous: Mexico is certain that, only by fighting both scourges as one, will we be able to move forward.

An alliance between the European Union and Latin America to achieve these goals is not only essential, but natural.

Both regions have defended the same causes in forums such as the G20 and strengthened our cooperation mechanisms with this common perspective. To date, for example, the EU has exported 130 million vaccines to 28 countries in our region. In addition, we work together in triangular cooperation schemes that provide support to our most marginalized and vulnerable populations.

Much remains to be done to strengthen our collective action and this will only be possible if we communicate more efficiently and frequently. Today an effort was made in this direction.

Mexico will continue to work enthusiastically and proactively on this path. Our two regions and the rest of the world have a lot to gain from working together.

Carmen Moreno Toscano

Undersecretary of Foreign Relations

@CMorenoToscano1

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