Latin Reporters, Guadalajara, le 30 mai 2004 - 2004/05/30
25 EU heads of state and government and 33 of their counterparts from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) were in Guadalajara, Mexico, on May 28, 2004, for the third EU-LAC summit. In a paper presented to the European Parliament and the Council on summit objectives for EU-LAC relations, the European Commission stressed that significant progress was needed in two key areas—social cohesion and regional integration, and the strengthening of bi-regional cooperation within the multilateral framework. It was the first summit since enlargement, and in-depth talks with LAC countries will be followed by bilateral and regional agreements, including a EU-MERCUSOR ministerial conference intended to move the parties closer to an associational agreement. The Commission also indicated that other steps toward regional and subregional integration would speed economic growth and foster further progress under the EU-LAC strategic bi-regional partnership. On the economic front, enhanced regional integration will help the region capitalize on its potential and facilitate access to international markets on the part of the countries concerned. Politically, it will give Latin America greater international influence.
The first EU-LAC Summit held on June 28–29, 1999, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, sought to improve mutual understanding of the political, economic, and cultural realities of the two regions with a view to developing a tri-dimensional strategic partnership centered on the establishment of a fruitful political dialog respectful of international law and reflecting a deep, shared commitment to multilateralism; solid economic and financial relations rooted in extensive but balanced liberalization of trade and capital flow; and greater, more creative cooperation in the areas of education, science, technology, culture, and human and social development. The second summit in Madrid, Spain, on May 17, 2002, sought to build on the process launched in Rio and reassert EU and LAC determination to develop a bi-regional strategic partnership. These objectives took shape with the signing of the EU-Chile Association Agreement in November 2002 and the wrap-up of negotiations for the Political Dialogue and Cooperation agreements signed with Central American and the Andean Community in Rome in December 2003. In short, not only has the EU emerged as Latin America’s second largest trading partner, it is also the region’s top source of direct foreign investment and leading supplier of development assistance.
At the conclusion of the 3rd summit, the 58 EU and LAC heads of state and government in attendance signed the Guadalajara Declaration. The document hailed prospects for an ambitious agreement between the EU and MERCOSUR and instructed negotiators “to intensify their work so that this result can be achieved by the target date of October 2004.” Signatories also agreed to commitments in support of cultural diversity: “We agree to promote, on a bi-regional basis, cultural dialogue in sectors which reflect cultural identity, as well as cultural and linguistic diversity, and which benefit human development, as a contribution to sustainable development, stability and peace. In this regard, we support the ongoing negotiations on a Convention on Cultural Diversity in UNESCO.” They also declared that, “We reaffirm our conviction that cultural industries contribute fundamentally to promoting cultural identity and cultural and linguistic diversity. We also recognize the important contribution of cultural industries to the promotion of sustainable development. We will explore means to enhance EU-LAC cooperation and interaction in this area.”  (Available in French, English and Spanish)