EuroLat: serious concern about migration and support to multilateral trade

Pro government demonstrators participate in a rally in Caracas, Venezuela, 03 December 2019. EPA-EFE/Miguel Gutierrez

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The worsening migration situation in Latin America and Europe worries parliamentarians in both regions, who also warn against increasing trade protectionism.

In a joint declaration on the occasion of the twelfth plenary session of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat), the two co-presidents of the assembly, Javi López (S&D, Spain) and Jorge Pizarro, insist that inequality “is the main challenge our democracies are facing” and point to the growing distrust in politicians and the subsequent rise of populism and nationalism.

They believe that reducing social inequalities and strengthening social cohesion shoube a priority. Access to quality essential public services, such as education, health and justice, must therefore be guaranteed. Parliamentarians also propose working towards an economic model based on innovation and the circular economy, combined with progressive tax systems and an effective fight against fraud and evasion.

The text underlines the role of civil society in building democracy and respect for human rights and calls for political opponents, social leaders and activists to be able to operate safely.

Parliamentarians are seriously concerned about the worsening migration phenomenon in both regions and in the world as a whole, which they attribute to climate change, natural disasters, wars and political conflicts, but mostly to social injustice. This affects huge groups suffering from food insecurity, unemployment and violence, without support from the state.

They refer to the difficult situation in Venezuela, where more than 4.6 million people have fled the country, according to UN agencies.

To tackle the migration challenge, they demand political dialogue and financial support to the most affected countries. They also request more visibility and awareness to be raised about the political causes which have led to this situation.

The declaration highlights the commitment to a multilateral trade rule-based system that is open and transparent, reliant on WTO rules, as opposed to protectionism and trade wars. It emphasises that trade agreements must respect high social, environmental, labour and food safety standards.

Parliamentarians reiterate both regions support this approach and welcome progress to reach new deals, such as EU-Mercosur, update the existing ones or extend them to more countries.

In view of accelerating climate change, the international community must intensify its efforts to combat it through concrete commitments. López and Pizarro support the European Parliament’s plan for the EU to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and set an emissions reduction target of 55% by 2030.

Parliamentarians stress the importance of strengthening bi-regional cooperation at the highest level and, on this point, call on governments “to resume as soon as possible the EU-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) summits,” which were interrupted in 2015. The final objective, they add, is to achieve a genuine bi-regional strategic partnership.

The 150 members of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat), 75 MEPs and 75 representatives of the Latin American and Caribbean parliaments, gathered in Panama City on 12 and 13 December for its twelfth plenary session. It was the first EuroLat meeting since the European elections in May 2019. Many of the members of the European Parliament delegation to the Assembly are new, and they are headed by a new European co-president, Javi López (S&D, ES).

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