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Spain, Colombia Eye Strengthened EU-Latin America Ties

Spain’s prime minister and Colombia’s president met on Thursday, with both expressing shared hopes for a “turning point” in ties between Latin America and the EU.

The two regions are set for a “shift in the political and economic relationship,” Colombia’s Gustavo Petro said, referring to an upcoming July summit in Brussels between heads of state in the EU and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) — the first since 2015.

“The context today is very different. This implies that this won’t just be another meeting, but instead a shift in the political and economic relationship between the two regions,” Petro said during a joint press conference with Premier Pedro Sanchez.

The leaders discussed Latin America’s “huge potential” for green energy and the need to move beyond raw material production. Instead, Colombia wants to form a “partnership to create a more productive and prosperous world.”

Last week, Sanchez met with Brazil’s president, and both expressed optimism about reaching a free trade agreement between Europe and Latin America in the coming months.

In July, Spain will assume the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU. One of its main goals is deepening ties between Latin America and Europe.

“We need to build a launchpad to change the politics of the EU and Latin America, and Spain has an enormous advantage in terms of language. We’ll see how it works,” Petro said.

The two left-wing leaders also signed several bilateral agreements on education, crime, business financing, and the environment.

“Colombia is a global role model in terms of biodiversity; we should join forces with them. We share the need to drive forward the green transition,” Sanchez said, mentioning Spain’s “devastating” drought.

He also expressed Spain’s willingness to participate in Colombia’s peace negotiations with the left-wing National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group.

The leaders also discussed their openness to restarting dialogue with Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro to “end the crisis in Venezuela.”

Source : AA