The European Union's High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, said today that the EU bloc "has not paid enough attention to Latin America" and hoped that the EU-Celac summit would become "the starting point for a new relationship".
"Here we are, eight years after the last EU-Celac meeting, which in the current circumstances is a political imperative. It is a moment to reunify, relaunch and rebuild our relationship. Together we are one billion people, 60 countries. It is the starting point for a new relationship between the EU and Latin America", Borrell said on arriving at the meeting.
The Spanish politician attributed part of the blame for the fact that eight years had passed since the last summit to the Covid pandemic, but above all to the EU's lack of attention to this region of the world.
"As natural partners, we don't pay enough attention, that's the reason. Europeans have not paid enough attention to Latin Americans. And now we have to react and take into account the new geopolitical scenario with the emergence of China and the new role of Russia. We have to show not only concern, but commitment," he said.
The EU diplomacy coordinator pointed out that the summit between the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States is "one of the most important events" of his mandate as High Representative and said he was sure that "it will be a success and a good starting point for a stronger relationship between Latin America, the Caribbean and the Europeans".
"We are united by culture, by history. We are natural partners, but we have to be more than the result of history, we have to be the result of the political will to continue working together", he added.
Borrell said that it is necessary to "make investments, optical cables, roads, bridges, factories... but above all we must create rights and freedoms that politically unite these two parts of the world that have so much in common".
The high representative also referred to Celac's reluctance to mention the war in Ukraine in the conclusions of the summit and said that they are working "to say what we have already said in the United Nations".
"I do not expect more than that: to repeat what has already been said in the United Nations about the Russian invasion of Ukraine", said Borrell, who added that he does not expect the summit to resolve the agreement between the EU and Mercosur, but rather to generate more understanding.
Borrell also referred to Latin America as a supplier of natural resources and warned about what this relationship should be like.
"We must not look at Latin America from an extractive point of view. We have to be very careful not to look like someone who is worried about Latin American countries because we need their (raw) materials. Yes, we do. But it's not just that. We have to support these countries to add value to mineral resources," he concluded.