2016: Eurolat meetings

Eurolat Meetings of Standing Parliamentary Committees: in Lisbon (Portugal) from 16-18 May 2016

Family Photo at the Eurolat Meetings of the Standing Parliamentary Committees in Lisbon in 2016 © European Parliament
The EuroLat meetings of the Standing Parliamentary Committees took place in Lisbon (Portugal) from 16-18 May 2016.

After last year's Plenary in Brussels in June, the first set of meetings in 2016 of the 4 EuroLat Standing Committees, Executive Bureau, Working Group on Migration as well as the EuroLat-Civil Society meeting, Women's Forum and EP-LAC political families took place in Lisbon, Portugal, on 16-18 May 2016. Initial preparation took place on 16 May, including preparatory meetings of the Latin American component, EuroLat Co-Secretariats and the EP Secretariat.

The Inaugural Joint Session took place on 17 May in the Portuguese Assembly of the Republic with the participation of the country's highest authorities in the executive and legislative, the Portuguese Prime Minister, Mr António Costa and the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues. The President of the Republic, Mr Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, also received both EuroLat Co-presidents for an intense one-hour bilateral meeting at the Presidential Palace. EP Co-President Mr Jauregui was also engaged in bilateral in-depth contacts and exchanges with both Venezuelan members belonging to the government party as well as members of the opposition, including Mitzy Capriles and the father of Leopoldo López, an eminent opposition leader still in jail.

Members' participation in Lisbon was very high, with some 42 EP Members and the full strength of the Latin American counterparts (75 of 75) participating. The meetings proceeded smoothly with three resolutions adopted in the Political, Social and Sustainable Development Committees to be voted by the Assembly Plenary in Montevideo in September 2016. Upon request from the LAC Members the Trade Committee vote on China was postponed to the next committee meeting.

It was decided that the Co-Presidents would issue a Joint Declaration on various urgent matters relevant to the Bi-regional Strategic Partnership EU-LAC (EU-Mercosur negotiations, EU-Mexico and EU-Chile Association Agreements, accession of Ecuador to the Multi-Party Trade Agreement EU-Colombia and Peru, tax fraud, the setting up of a joint research area, and with slight reference to the current situation in Brazil, Venezuela etc.) on the basis of article 18 of the Assembly's Rules of Procedure and along the lines previously discussed with both components and after constructive and fruitful discussions and compromises brokered by both EP and LAC Co-Presidents.

Beyond the various planned draft agendas, discussions and interventions on the extremely sensitive political, economic, social and institutional crises in Venezuela and Brazil were omnipresent.