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Delegation for relations with the countries of the Andean Community (DAND)

Before the European Parliament's 2004 elections, the countries covered today by the Delegations for relations with the countries of the Andean Community (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) were included in a delegation with a much wider remit.

This, earlier delegation was called the Delegation for relations with the countries of South America and Mercosur, and focused on the four Andean countries, Venezuela (which was then also a part of the Andean Community), the countries in Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) and Chile.

Only in 2004, as the Parliament opened its sixth legislature (2004-2009), did the Andean Community - an intergovernmental organisation and customs union that includes a 20-member parliament (Parlandino) - and its four member states become the focus of a separate delegation.

The decision was welcomed by the Andean countries: at the first meeting of the new delegation, held in September 2004, the ambassadors of Ecuador and Bolivia applauded the creation of an independent delegation.

Andean-EU international agreements

At a meeting of EU and Andean ministers in May 2007, participants confirmed a desire to create an "Association Agreement" that would link them in trade, politics and other fields of cooperation.

The next year the partners agreed on a flexible framework agreement that allows different Andean countries to participate according to their own possibilities, desire and schedule.

Although an agreement on political dialogue and cooperation had already been signed, in 2003, the new trade aspects of the partnership were put in place more quickly.

Trade negotiations between the EU and Colombia, Peru and Ecuador were launched in 2009, and the resulting agreement is now being provisionally applied to all three. The European Parliament consented to the agreement for Peru and Colombia in 2012 and for Ecuador to join in 2016.

A short-term visa waiver for Colombia and Peru was also implemented in 2016, allowing residents of the two countries to travel to the Schengen space without getting visas.

Ultimately, the political agreement has been the slowest of these agreements to be confirmed.

Although it was signed in 2003 and began its ratification process, changes within the Andean Community organisation - and notably Venezuela's departure - weakened the pace. Finally, in 2016, the European Council proposed a text to the Council and European Parliament.

If the agreement is implemented, it will likely lead to the creation of a formal forum - "an Inter-parliamentarian Committee" according to the current text - for MEPs and members of the Andean Parliament to meet on a regular basis.

DAND contribution

Throughout all of these negotiation processes, the DAND delegation has played an active role, monitoring the progress of the talks and offering input.

Delegation meetings regularly have included exchanges of views with prominent Andean officials, as well as other EU specialists (from the European Commission and European External Action Service in particular), researchers and civil society representatives.
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