High Representative/Vice-President (HR/VP) Josep Borrell visited Uruguay for the first time on 24 October, as part of a regional tour to strengthen both bilateral and bi-regional relations between the European Union and Latin American and Caribbean countries.
During the meeting with President Luis Lacalle Pou, HR/VP praised the long-term stability, reliability and cohesion of Uruguay and its strong partnership with the EU. As Uruguay holds the rotating presidency of Mercosur, they also discussed the EU – Mercosur Association Agreement. The HRVP underlined the strategic nature of the agreement and the EU’s strong commitment to advance towards a conclusion , as a means to strengthen dialogue, cooperation and trade between both regions. Moreover, HR/VP reiterated to President Lacalle Pou the EU’s goal to strengthen EU-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) relations, with Uruguay being a fundamental partner to bring positions between the two regions closer together.
In a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Francisco Bustillo, the HR/VP further discussed Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Uruguay is a strong supporter of Ukraine and the global multilateral rules-based order. The High Representative informed about his phonecall earlier that morning with Foreign Minister of Ukraine Kuleba, regarding Russia’s false allegations that Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb on its own territory and Ukraine’s request to the International Atomic Energy Agency to dispatch an expert mission to the ground to substantiate facts.
HR/VP also met with Vice President Beatriz Argimon to learn about the current legislative agenda of the Uruguayan Congress. He announced the launch of a project under the thematic Programme for Human Rights and Democracy, which will allow develop cooperation with the Uruguayan parliament. It will seek to improve the parliamentary functioning and promote political participation.
HR/VP also gave a speech at the IV EU-Uruguay Investment Forum, where he highlighted that Uruguay’s democratic political stability and reliability which has made the country an attractive place for EU investments. The EU represents with 40% of total Foreign Direct Investments Uruguay’s biggest foreign investor. He also spoke about the common challenges in terms of green and digital transition, where Uruguay is global pioneer in view of his environmental policies. 97% of Uruguayan electricity stems from renewables.
Josep Borrell also visited the new port terminal and railway connection built at Montevideo port, which will allow operations and export a Finnish paper company located in the North of the country. It is the largest public investment in the country’s history, with the participation of many European enterprises in a real #TeamEurope effort.
Audiovisual coverage of the visit is available on EbS.