14 Apr 2015

Seminar in preparation for the CELAC-UE Summit held in Brussels

On 14 April 2015, the Egmont Institute in collaboration with IRELAC organised a preparatory seminar for the CELAC-UE Summit of Heads of State and Government. Çhaired by Vicomte Etienne Davignon, president of the Egmont Institute, the morning session featured prominent speakers: H.E. Mr. Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, H.E. Ms. Ilze Juhansone, Permanent Representative of Latvia to the EU, representing the EU Presidency, Mr. Christian Leffler, Managing Director Americas, European External Action Service, and H.E. Mr. Carlos Appelgren Balbotín, Ambassador of Chile.
From left to right: HE C. Appelgren, HE D. Reynders, Vicomte E. Davignon, HE I. Juhansone, C. Leffler.

The panel stressed the advantages of a strengthened EU-LAC cooperation in areas of global interest, but made clear that a dialogue alone is not sufficient, action is needed. For this purpose, some focus areas were put forward. Here some quotes:
D. Reynders: "It is important to base cooperation on the shared values between Europe and Belgium, and Latin America and the Caribbean."
I. Juhansone: "We have to seize the opportunity to work together - an opportunity we do not have when working alone."
C. Leffler: "For me, investment is more important than trade as it shows a long-term intention".
C. Appelgren B.: "A high-level meeting every two years is not enough: We need to strengthen the dialogue, connect the societies, organise sectoral plenary meetings including SMEs, take the opportunities a community of 61 States offer at the global scene".

The second part of the seminar centered around more practical ways on how to implement the political ideas. Arnaldo Abruzzini,secretary general of Eurochambers, has some concrete suggestions:
- Create higher visibility of the EU (not only the single Member States) in Latin America and the Caribbean
- Exchange cultural perspectives through a EU-LAC ERASMUS for young entrepreneurs
- Connect business people, e.g. through connecting business registers.

If you want to have your say in the EU-CELAC relations, visit the site of the Academic Summit 2015 with its programme (that includes a session with industry) and the Call for Papers!

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