"The major mission of Chile is to become a developed country without poverty by the end of the decade," President Sebastián Piñera of Chile told the foreign affairs committee on Thursday. He also said his country wanted to double investment in technology and made the case for stepping up the integration of Latin America.
Mr Piñera said Chile was a "solid democracy" which was "open to the world". "Integration in Latin America has not so far been as deep and fruitful as it should be," he said, underlining the efforts of his country to establish regional integration between the countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, with the aim of creating the world's biggest free trade area. After the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, "the future is now with the Pacific," he said.
MEPs praised Chile for its model role in the democratic transition, current reforms and sustained economic growth (6% in 2011). They also asked Mr Piñera how Chile intended to integrate groups such as the Mapuche Indians, who are currently economically and socially excluded, stand firm on respect for human rights and individual freedoms and diversify exports, half of which now depend on mining products.
In the chair: José Ignacio Salafranca (EPP, ES)