BRUSSELS, 17 Jul. () –
The summit between the leaders of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) has started this Monday in Brussels with pending differences in the final declaration condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the European colonial legacy, which threatens with derailing the text and tarnishing the first summit between the two regions since 2015.
The final declaration of the summit is still under negotiation at this time, due to the different positions regarding how to refer to the Russian invasion of Ukraine or the European colonial and slavery legacy, as requested by the CELAC countries.
Upon his arrival at the meeting, the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, has acknowledged the differences with the region to close the text of the summit, but has been “optimistic” about reaching an “ambitious” declaration that addresses the challenges in the international scene, recalling that Latin American countries have already voted overwhelmingly in favor of condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the United Nations Assembly.
Michel has assured that support for Ukraine will be discussed with Latin American partners and it will be revealed that a victory for Russia represents a “danger for the rest of the world.”
“We know that there are different opinions and sensitivities, but we will do everything possible to support the idea that a just peace is based on respect for the principles of justice and the United Nations Charter”, he stated, after pointing out that “nobody wants to give lessons to nobody” and that the talks with Ibero-America and the Caribbean are carried out in a “spirit of mutual respect.
For his part, the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and current CELAC President, Ralph Gonsalves, insisted in statements before the meeting that the final communiqué of the summit address the “historical legacy” of slavery and mention the need to address reparation and justice.
On the Ukraine issue, he has admitted that it is necessary to find a common formula that is accepted by all parties. “You have to understand this: countries vote individually in the United Nations but others abstain or take another position and we have to have a consensus position and language,” she said.
Before the summit, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, has valued reactivating relations between Europe and Latin America after years in which Europe “has not paid much attention” to the region.
In this way, he has expressed his wish that the summit serves for the two regions to “hold hands and face global problems together”, insisting that the first meeting of leaders in eight years should be the “starting point”. to increase cooperation.
Regarding the differences with Ukraine, Borrell has expressed his desire that Europeans and Latin Americans find a way to “say what has already been said in the United Nations.” “I don’t expect more than that, it is repeating what we have already said,” he explained.
The EU and CELAC began by negotiating a longer statement, but different sensitivities complicate mentioning Ukraine and have resulted in a shorter statement.