EU to meet the Latin American and Caribbean countries in Lima

60 Heads of State and Government from the EU Member States, Latin America and the Caribbean will gather in Lima, Peru, on May the 16th for the V EU-LAC Summit. The EU and Latin American and Caribbean leaders will debate two key themes for the bi-regional agenda: poverty reduction and social cohesion; and environment, climate change and sustainable development.

The Summit should reinforce cooperation and partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean on these key subjects, and it will allow participants to voice strong support for Association Agreements with two Latin American regional organizations, the Andean Community and Central America.

The European Commission will be represented by the President of the Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso. Commissioners for External Relations and Neighborhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, for Trade, Peter Mandelson, and for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, will also participate.

"As regional markets grow and a former focus on exports to the US is replaced by more diversified trade, Europe will continue to be a close partner for Latin America. In the Caribbean we will be marking the transformation of our trade relations through the signing of an economic partnership agreement that will bring our economies closer together and encourage diversification and development. We will pursue ongoing FTA negotiations with Central America, the Andean Community and Mercosur. I hope that this Summit will reinforce our mutual commitment to close trading ties and an open global economy - including through the successful completion of the WTO Doha trade talks." added Commissioner Mandelson.

The EU-LAC strategic partnership, which began with the first Summit of Heads of State and Government of both regions in Rio in 1999 and was consolidated and strengthened in Madrid (2002), Guadalajara (2004) and Vienna (2006), reflects the increasing convergence of interests and values as well as the desire of both parties to further consolidate and strengthen their relationship in the future.