European Parliament leader Antonio Tajani has insisted that political relations with Latin America are a “priority” for Europe, highlighting the potential for cooperation on trade and security in particular. EurActiv Spain reports.
At the opening of ninth session of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EUROLAT) in Montevideo, Vice-President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani talked to EurActiv’s partner EFE about what the EU can achieve by working more closely with its South American counterparts.
“We can work together against illegal immigration, terrorism, and drug trafficking. A lot can be done and strengthening political relations with Latin America is a priority for Europe,” said Tajani, one of the highest-ranking officials to attend the session. He added that EUROLAT could “help develop relations” between the two blocs.
“I believe that Europe can play a very interesting, very important role, because we share a lot of values, particularly in religion and language, with Latin America… So it is very important that we do more here,” said the former European Commissioner for Industry. The Italian MEP added that one of EUROLAT’s goals is to bring more European investment to the continent.
“The development of the construction sector and Latin American infrastructure is very interesting, particularly after the work done on the new Panama Canal. I think that that can help the economic and infrastructural development of the continent a lot,” Tajani added.
Tajani, one of the 14 vice-presidents of the Parliament and a member of the European People’s Party, said that his political group has “good relations with all our American friends”, although he did show concern for certain aspects of political and social life in South America, indicating that “the freedom of Venezuela” is now a priority.
“We’ll defend democracy in this country, where there is a majority against a dictatorship that does not respect human rights and does not respect democracy,” he warned.
Tajani also said that “we are very pleased with the peace in Colombia, but we are not going to forget about the victims of terror.”
Regarding relations between the EU and the Mercosur trade bloc, Tajani said that “more can be done” and underlined the importance of “developing a strategy for stronger relations between Europe and Mercosur”.