First EU-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly paves the way for closer co-operation

Pressmeddelande   •   Nov 10, 2006 14:00 CET

"The challenges ahead are clear. But we must maintain our common dream of a united Europe and a united Latin America," concluded José Ignacio Salafranca, the co-President of the EUROLAT Parliamentary Assembly at its closing session on 9 November. The assembly also adopted a declaration and exchanged views with European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Earlier in the day, the three joint committees of EUROLAT met to elect their co-chairs and co-vice chairs.

The EUROLAT assembly, which brings together MEPs and national MPs with parliamentarians from Latin America, wrapped up its two-day inaugural meeting with a declaration, which is available on its website (see the link below). The closing meeting was attended by External Relations Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner, who emphasized that "the European Commission has from the very beginning given its full political support for the creation of this body." "This is a historical day," she noted, adding that "the assembly will be one of the key bodies in ensuring fruitful cooperation between our two regions."

Members also asked some questions, several of them seeking her reaction to the planned building of a border fence by the US on its Mexican border. "Walls have never solved problems" in history before, she replied, and urged cooperation both in the fight against illegal immigration as well as in the field of legal migration.

Ney Lopes, co-President of EUROLAT, called upon members to ensure that the assembly do its utmost to work towards their common goal, which is to become "a vector for dialogue and for enhancing social cohesion" in the region. Mr Salafranca echoed his thoughts, adding that "development without integration is an impossible dream," and that despite the differences on the two sides of the Atlantic, Latin America could learn a lot from the experiences of the European integration project.

Constitution of committees

The EUROLAT Bureau had decided earlier in the day to endorse a call to increase the number of Vice-Presidents of the Assembly from 12 to 14. The two additional names have yet to be determined. The three committees also met in the afternoon, and chose their co-Chairs and co-Vice Chairs. The positions will be filled as follows:

Committee on Political Affairs, Security and Human Rights
Co-Chairs: Fernando Fernandez (EPP-ED, ES) and Armida de López (Central American Parliament, Honduras)
Co-Vice Chairs: Achille Ochetto (PES, IT), Daniel Varela (EPP-ED, ES), Nora Castro (Latin-American Parliament, Uruguay), and Amilcar Figueroa (Latin-American Parliament, Venezuela)

Committee on Economy, Finance and Trade
Co-Chairs: Erika Mann (PES, DE) and Ivonne de Baki (Andean Parliament, Ecuador)
Co-Vice Chairs: Gianluca Susta (ALDE, IT), Gerardo Galeote (EPP-ED, ES), Jacinto Suárez (Central American Parliament, Nicaragua) and one Vice-President yet to be named

Committee on Social, Migration, Environment and Cultural Affairs
Co-Chairs: Raimon Obiols i Germà (PES, ES) and Laura Carneiro (Latin-American Parliament, Brazil)
Co-Vice Chairs: Monica Frassoni (Greens/EFA, IT), Amalia Sartori (EPP-ED, IT), José Murat (Central American Parliament, Mexico), and Rosa León (Andean Parliament, Peru)

In the Chair: : José Ignacio SALAFRANCA SÁNCHEZ-NEYRA (EPP-ED, ES)
Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly

Ref.: 20061106IPR12368
Lorinc Redei
Press Service
E-postadress :
Telefonnummer i Bryssel : (32-2) 28 32379 (BXL)
Telefonnummer i Strasbourg : (33-3) 881 74912 (STR)
Mobilnummer : (32) (0) 498 983 283