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The EU and Celac are willing to cooperate economically but clash over Ukraine

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The leaders of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) met again this Monday after eight years with the desire to promote economic cooperation, but they highlighted their differences regarding trade agreements and the Russian war in Ukraine.

The EU, which sees Latin America and the Caribbean as one of the regions with which it shares the most values, hopes that the summit that both blocs are holding in Brussels concludes with a condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine.

“The most important thing is that we believe in the same values. We see the world with the same eyes. We share the same faith in the Charter of the United Nations,” said the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in her speech to the start of the meeting.

Along the same lines, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, stressed that “Russia must not be allowed to succeed”, because that would be “a recipe for disaster”. However, the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, pointed out that “dividing the world into antagonistic blocks would be crazy” and said that the sanctions and blockades against Moscow that have been adopted “without international support only serve to penalize the most vulnerable parts of the population”.

The EU and Celac are still negotiating the final declaration of the summit and if necessary, they will do so throughout the night, European sources said.

The EU and Celac are still negotiating the final declaration of the summit and if necessary, they will do so throughout the night, European sources said. A text in which the condemnation of the war in Ukraine is one of the biggest stumbling blocks.

“The Member States of the European Union may have understandable concerns about the situation in Ukraine, but this summit must not become another useless battleground for speeches regarding this issue, which has been and continues to be addressed in other more relevant forums. “said the rotating president of Celac and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves.

In the drafts of the declaration that have circulated the weeks prior to the summit, the will of the EU and Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) to conclude the trade agreement that both bloc signed in 2019 but whose ratification is pending. paralyzed by the reluctance of France and Ireland to the impact that meat imports can have on their farmers and by the demands of the European Parliament or Austria in the fight against the climate.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel referred in his speech to the history of the Caribbean countries, “marked by centuries of colonialism, slavery and looting and by the current unjust international economic order”, to “peremptorily” request a “more cooperative and supportive look towards the South, especially towards the Caribbean “.

Díaz-Canel took advantage of the international forum to describe as “unfair” the “current graduation criteria” to receive official development aid, since, in his opinion, “they make invisible the serious multidimensional effects of poverty, inequality and vulnerability, associated to our status as small island developing states”.

The activist Ariel Ruiz Urquiola, with his back turned and with banners, at the demonstration against Miguel Díaz-Canel in Brussels.  (Capture/Iliana Hernandez)

Against the Cuban regime and the presence of its highest leader, dozens of people demonstrated this Monday in Brussels. Among them, the presence of activists Ariel Ruiz Urquiola, Iliana Hernández and Carolina Barrero stood out.

For her part, the executive vice president of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, who attended the summit in Brussels because the European sanctions against her allow her to attend multilateral forums, urged that the “criminal blockade” against her country be lifted.

“We come with great hope to bring the message of Venezuela, the lifting of the criminal blockade against our country, so we bring from the (Venezuelan) President Nicolás Maduro a message of peace, harmony, cooperation, which must be the route that continues and guides our countries,” he declared.

In the economic forum prior to the summit, the EU promised this Monday 45,000 million euros in investments by its institutions and its Member States until 2027 to the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean

The president of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, also called for an end to the US blockade of Cuba and the end of the sanctions against Venezuela, as well as “to remove the barriers that prevent us from normalizing our relations with brother countries like Nicaragua.”

In the economic forum prior to the summit, the EU promised this Monday 45,000 million euros in investments from its institutions and its Member States until 2027 to the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, which in turn called for a deeper and more that the region does not become a mere “mineral extraction region” or “natural resource quarry”.

“Today more than ever” it is necessary to renew common confidence in the values ​​of multilateralism, said the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez.

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