Spanish Presidency EU | 13-02-2010
The Spanish Presidency is working hard to achieve the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement
Closer relations between the European Union and Latin America is a priority for the Spanish Presidency
On 15 February, the European Union and Brazil will hold their first Ministerial Meeting on Political Dialogue in Madrid, which will cover important issues on the bilateral and international agenda. Europe will be represented by the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, and the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, while Brazil will be represented by the Minister for Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim.
The High Level Political Dialogue is a mechanism for exchanging information and experiences as part of the EU-Brazil Strategic Association, established in Lisbon in 2007.
The situation in Haiti and Honduras, climate change, relations with Iran, the Alliance of Civilisations and the preparations for the next G-20 summit are all on the agenda of the meeting in Madrid. The EU has great interest in these types of discussions with Brazil, due to its importance as an emerging player on the international stage and its specific weight in Latin America, according to sources at the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The bilateral agenda will address the relaunch of the negotiations for an EU-Mercosur Association Agreement, which stalled in 2004. The Spanish Government has been working hard to restart the negotiations and the question was raised during the Iberian-Latin American Summit in Estoril in December last year.
Despite the complexity of the negotiations, especially on agricultural issues, the parties involved have asked the negotiators to do everything possible to revive the agreement, according to sources at the Spanish ministry.
The launch of the EU’s External Service and the processes of Latin American regional integration, including the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which Brazil is promoting, will also be addressed during the meeting in Madrid.
The European Union is Brazil’s largest trading partner and the biggest investor in this South American country. Trade with the EU represents 22.5% of Brazil’s total foreign trade. However, despite being the largest exporter of agricultural products to the EU, Brazil only ranks tenth in the list of the EU’s trading partners, accounting for 2% of the EU’s total foreign trade.
The EU has a trade deficit of more than €11.0 billion with Brazil for goods, and a surplus of €500 million for services, according to Eurostat.