Press Releases EU-CELAC Summit: Press remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell upon arrival on the second day

EU-CELAC Summit: Press remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell upon arrival on the second day

The [EU-CELAC] Summit is going well.  Yesterday, we launched the [EU-LAC] Digital Alliance. We signed agreements with three Latin American countries [Ecuador, Honduras, El Salvador].

I am coming back from the ‘Progressive leaders’ meeting called by Pedro Sánchez, as President of the International Socialist [and Prime Minister of Spain]. There are a lot of bilaterals, a lot of side events.

Yesterday, for example, President [of France, Emmanuel] Macron called for a meeting between the government and the opposition of Venezuela to discuss about how could we go to holding elections in an inclusive manner, free elections that could be recognised by the international community. There was not a lot of progress, but at least the two of them were talking together.

I offered again the possibility of sending an Electoral Observation Mission (EOM), as long as the recommendations that we made last time were taken into consideration.

This is, I think, a good meeting. The fact that almost everybody is here represents an encounter between the Latin American [and Caribbean] community and Europeans in order to relaunch our association on better bases. That is a good thing. I am very happy.

This was an important thing for me to do [and] it is happening. The result will for sure be a good way of working together on the friendship, the association. Working together – all the Latin Americans [and Caribbeans] and the Europeans.


Q. Has the Venezuelan Vice-President agreed to have the European observers for the elections?

No, it was not decided. I just offered this possibility, making clear that we have already been there with an Electoral Observation Mission (EOM). And it was a risky decision for me to send this Electoral Observation Mission. They went, they observed, they made a good statement on how the elections were taking place and also giving some advice, considerations [and] suggestions in order to improve the process.

Q. How about the European Union – Mercosur agreement? Any news? Yesterday, there was a meeting between the Foreign Ministers from Mercosur with the Trade Commissioner [Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis]. How was it?

Well, there is not going to be a breakthrough on the Mercosur agreement today. But, for the first time at least, there are two draft papers – the proposal from the European side and the counterproposal on the Latin American side – in order to look at the environmental question. It is not going to be a breakthrough, but it is going to be a clear will to continue working on the basis of the two proposals. I am sure that, before the end of the year, we could reach an agreement.

Q. Yesterday, have you spoken about Russia’s decision [regarding] the Grain Deal?

Yes, we talked about it. It is really very bad news, this is one of the worst news for the world. The fact that once again, the Ukrainian grain cannot go out of Ukraine, it means that hundreds of thousands of people around the world will be deprived of basic food. I think this deserves some action at the level of the General Assembly of the United Nations. We cannot sit and just complain. They [Russia] are using hunger as a weapon. This is one of the worst things that Putin could have done, and he did [it]. So, it requires [a] strong answer from the international community.

Q. What is the main issue with this Communiqué? Why not all countries agree in terms of Russia to make some conclusions? What are their arguments?

We are still not at the end of the day. I am sure we will get a good decision at the end. You will see.

Q. ¿Para Colombia – cómo ha avanzado hasta ahora la Cumbre? ¿Qué nos puede contar?

Muy bien. Creo que muy bien. El presidente de Colombia [Gustavo Petro] ha estado aquí, ha hecho una contribución importante. Es muy importante que hayan estado aquí casi todos los líderes de América Latina [y el Caribe] con todos los líderes europeos. Ha habido una conversación sobre Venezuela, otra sobre la Alianza Digital. Estamos acabando de perfilar la declaración final. Se han firmado acuerdos de colaboración. Se han puesto sobre la mesa, francamente – y se seguirán poniendo – las cuestiones que nos interesan. Creo que podemos cooperar mucho más y mucho mejor. Desde una posición de igualdad, utilizando los recursos y capacidades de unos y de otros de una forma complementaria, abandonando cualquier tentación extractivista hacia América Latina. Haciendo que pueda tener la oportunidad de dar valor añadido a sus minerales y a sus productos naturales. Creo que el encuentro en sí era absolutamente necesario y tendrá una gran repercusión en el futuro de nuestras relaciones.

Q. A propósito de la reunión con Venezuela, ¿qué detalles nos puede contar al respecto?

Bueno, poca cosa más de lo que ya he contado. El gobierno y la oposición se sentaron juntos, dialogaron. Hay que ver de qué manera podemos conseguir absolutamente – bueno, los venezolanos tienen que conseguir – que las próximas elecciones sean elecciones libres, democráticas e inclusivas que puedan ser reconocidas por la comunidad internacional.

Q. ¿Han aceptado una observación internacional?

El objetivo lo comparten. Lo que hay que saber es cómo.

Link to the video (starting at 0:34):

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