Spanish official stresses importance of EU-LAC summit

08:12, May 17, 2010      

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(L to R) Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon, European Union President Herman Vasn Rampuy and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Durao Barroso attend a joint press conference during the EU-Mexico summit in the Northern Spanish town of Comillas May 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Zhang Chongfang)

The EU-LAC (European Union-Latin America and Caribbean) summit to be held in Madrid on Tuesday is of "enormous importance," a Spanish official said Sunday.

The gathering will "pave the way for a new era in relations between the European Union and Latin America," Spain's first Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told the website of the Spanish EU presidency.

The summit will be attended by representatives from over 50 countries, including leaders from 20 Latin American countries and 14 European countries.

"We will tackle the enormous challenges faced by both the EU and Latin America in today's complex and globalized world, and we are going to work to establish more and better political, economic and social ties," said de la Vega.

"The summit will also approve a very ambitious plan of action, under which concrete steps will be undertaken in the coming years," she said.

Other issues to be addressed includes the handling of the economic crises, finding solutions for the crises and lessening the severity of the consequences of the crises.

De la Vega said among several agreements expected to be signed at the event, there will be an investment arrangement for Latin America which involves an initial input of more than 100 million euros (127 million U.S. dollars) with the objective to promote infrastructure development.

Participants are also expected to approve the creation of an Eurolac Foundation to increase exchanges between analysts and civil societies of Europe and Latin America. There will also be an agreement to set up an association between Europe and Central America, a sub-region of Latin America.

Those are "all unprecedented agreements" which will underscore that the EU and Latin America are two regions about to embark on a very important joint future project involving development and sharing, said de la Vega.The agreements will also demonstrate that the EU and Latin America "share values and solutions to the great challenges before us," she added.

Source: Xinhua


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