Source Pravda.Ru

Europe Looks For Closer Ties With Latin America

Troubled by the uncertain global scenario after the unilateral US attack on Iraq, Latin American countries welcome more predictable alliances and approach the "old" Europe.

During the annual Inter-American Development Bank meeting held in Milan, Italy, leaders from Latin America and Europe vowed for a new integration between both regions. This meeting might show a trend: as the USA gets involved in imperialistic military adventures across the seas, its long-running area of influence slightly moves towards a new geopolitical alliance with the European Union.

Romano Prodi, the Italian President of the European Commission, called for closer ties saying the two regions must accomplish a great deal more in the area of integration to live up to the expectations of their common heritage and political outlook. Prodi said that the economies and political views of the two regions were "completely compatible".

As a matter of fact, the European heritage on each and every Latin American country has linked both regions for centuries. The average population in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru, etc has more similarities with Europe than with the North American powerful neighbor.

The president of the Lombardy Region of Italy, Roberto Formigoni, hosted the meeting, which included IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias, Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti, Italy's Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Mario Baldassarri, and former Presidents Eduardo Frei of Chile and Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru. Iglesias said "we see integration as something beyond commerce," adding that support for democracy, human rights, institutional modernization were among the pillars of the trans-Atlantic partnership.

According to sources in Milan, a lot has been talked about the prospects for a European Union-Mercosur Association Agreement. Speakers concluded that prospects for an eventual agreement remain promising. A report from the Inter-American Development Bank says that the agreement would strengthen the credibility of the Mercosur integration project in the short term and stimulate growth and poverty reduction in the longer term by granting secure access to European markets in areas where Mercosur has an international comparative advantage. According to participants, a credible advance in the process could stimulate anticipatory effects from EU and Mercosur investors

However, the future does not look promising for Latin American strained economies. IDB President Enrique Iglesias said that the war would bring economical uncertainty on Latin America. "The uncertainty of the current economical scenario tends to aggravate thanks to the risks inherent to this world's peace crisis", said Iglesias in a statement. Iglesias believes that the war on Iraq will hazard global economy due to the complex situation in Middle East.

As many analysts, Iglesias thinks that wars are always bad for the economies, perhaps not in the short term, but certainly for the future.

Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina

Photo (IDB): Participating in a round table discussion on the European Union and Latin American and the Caribbean were (l. to r.) Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission; Roberto Formigoni, president of the Lombardy Region; Mario Baldassari, deputy economy minister of Italy; Eduardo Frei former president of Chile; Javier Pйrez de Cuellar, former United Nations secretary general; and Enrique V. Iglesias, president of the IDB

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