Latin America must be the center of attention of Europe

The credibility of the international summits is in question and among these the Iberoamericana.

these meetings are not producing the results that were expected of thembut no one can question that they are enormously useful and that is that in these meetings the heads of state have the opportunity to exchange points of view.

In the world we live in, these summits are important, however it is necessary to redefine the objectives of these meetings and bring them closer to solving the problems that affect our societies today.

The Spanish governments have always considered that the Ibero-American Summit is one of the most important objectives of their foreign policy and they have worked hard to maintain it.

They have tried to turn the General Secretariat of the summit into the operational and coordination center to promote cooperation and integration of the European Economic Community with the Ibero-American nations.

But they have encountered some obstacles. One of them is that Spain has not had the influence in the European Union to become the bridge of the member countries of the European Community with Latin America.

This may have happened because governments had been very passive and erratic in foreign policy, as was the case with JL Rodríguez Zapatero.

Also, Spain in the last two decades has had governments that have shown little interest in the issues of European Community policy.. The attention and impulse that Spain has wanted to give to the Ibero-American Summits have not been entirely possible due to the existing divisions in Latin America. ++

I remember one occasion when the vice president of the Spanish government, María Teresa Fernández, had to travel to almost all the countries in the region to motivate the presidents to attend the XV summit to be held in Salamanca.

This occurred because in the previous summit that was held in Costa Rica, six heads of state did not attend. At the XII summit held in Bávaro in 2002 and when Hipólito Mejía was president, 17 Heads of State attended.

Difficult moments
Europe is experiencing difficult times due to the war between Ukraine and Russia. The old continent does not want to get involved in wars and what this means in economic, human and devastation matters.

Europe has commitments to the military alliance known as NATO and to the United States. And he has had to get involved in that war. Their economies suffer from shortages of certain fuels and persistent inflation that has meant that the European Central Bank has had to raise interest rates, thus putting an end to cheap money and placing that continent in possible stagflation. Europe currently has many internal problems. And they will focus their attention.

However, I believe that the initiative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, José M. Albares, is commendable and timely, since Spain will exercise the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union from July of this year.

What Minister Albares has pointed out is true when he indicated that Spain has always been Latin America’s lawyer in Europe. That statement brought to my mind an old memory. It was 1984 and we had met in Paris with Pierre Beregovoy, Minister of the Economy and then Prime Minister of Chancellor Claude Chaysson, from whom we asked for their support so that our country could enter the Lomé Convention.

France’s refusal was immediate and they also added that they would give their full support to Haiti. This led us to change our strategy and, as Minister Albares says, we sought a lawyer in Spain in the person of Felipe González and with that lawyer we were successful and managed to enter what is now known as the Cotonou agreement.

I hope that Minister Albares succeeds in convincing his European colleagues that Latin America should be the center of attention for Europe and that he manages to do so permanently.

In the Dominican case, I have always advocated for our country to try to have an active participation in international forums. At the Ibero-American Summit, we have certain factors in our favor. One of them is that in historical terms it was in the Dominican Republic where everything began with the discovery and later with the conquest.

We are also the only country that is a member of the Ibero-American Summit and that is also part of the Cotonou agreement with the European Union. For this reason, we could try to become a bridge country for other nations in the area such as Haiti, Puerto Rico and the English-speaking Caribbean that are not part of the Ibero-American Summit, participate in certain aspects of it.

Summit Agenda
This summit, the XXVIII, has chosen some main themes. Of these there are two that are currently the object of attention in our country and I have added two more that are of high priority for Dominicans.

1. The Environment: our forests and rivers are being destroyed. Last week the Sierra del Bahoruco Oriental and Valle Nuevo were attacked by predators and land occupants. International pressure is necessary for our governments to fully assume their environmental obligations.

2. The Food safety. A poorly negotiated trade agreement, DR CAFTA, could lead to the disappearance of one of an important product, rice, which is part of our food security.

3. Haiti: In a summit of this category, the country and its government cannot fail to discuss the issue of Haiti. That people is suffering and only with adequate and well-directed international aid can a solution to the Haitian case be found.

4. Poverty and Equity: It has been said that this meeting will put people at the center of the summit so that the citizens of our countries live better and see the results of these meetings.

It is key to reduce poverty and improve equity. Our economy has grown, but we maintain a high poverty rate (24%) and we are one of the countries with the greatest inequality. 1% of the population has 30% of the national wealth.

Those are issues that must be addressed at this summit. But you also have to go back in time and remember that in the XII Ibero-American Summit the Heads of State in their declaration recognized tourism as an instrument for peace, democracy and integration and they promised to promote the development of sustainable tourism that protects the environment.

Returning to this issue is important because we are the leaders in this sector in the region. In this way we could motorize throughout Europe, Public-Private Alliances. Having Spain as a bridge, it would facilitate this action and thus expand the development of the Barahona-Pedernales hub.

It is this area that the newspaper “El País” of Spain recently indicated in a report that they were the last two virgin paradises that the Dominican Republic has.

associate with Europe is important and Spain can be the bridge to achieve it. Together we can do it. However, a change of approach is needed. It is necessary to create the instruments that allow these summits to be transformed and that our peoples see that the words of the leaders become reality.

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