The Organization of American States (OAS) today welcomed the 50th Lecture of the Americas, entitled "EU-LAC Relations: Towards a Renewed Partnership of Cooperation," an event in which the keynote presentation was given by Benita Ferrero-Waldner, President of the EU-LAC Foundation and former Commissioner of the European Union.
In her speech, Ferrero-Waldner said that "the context in which the relations between Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union are embedded, has changed over time, and the speed of the change is unprecedented." She said those changes include new trends in the balance of global power and wealth, which has shifted from the North Atlantic to Asia and the Pacific. "These changes provide us with great challenges but I think also with great opportunities," he said.
The former EU Commissioner said that in this new context, the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean can develop strategic partnerships with great potential in many areas, among which she cited "productivity, innovation, science and technology, research and development, education and training, including vocational education and training, entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)." Both regions would benefit greatly by “quickly adapting to new realities and also intensifying cooperation," said the Austrian diplomat.
"Cooperation is not a choice, it’s a necessity," she added. "Our governments all strive for growth, for sustainable development and job creation. This may result in different policy options, given different stages of development, but we need to recommit ourselves to policies of productivity, sustainable growth and economic integration within our own regions and in the relationship with each other, "said Ferrero-Waldner. "The better we understand the challenges of our times," she said, "the better we can respond to them."
The Chief of Staff of the Secretary General of the OAS, Ambassador Hugo de Zela, presented Ferrero-Waldner as someone who "has dedicated her career to working in international relations and, in particular, work that has to do with the relations between the two continents."
"The European Union has observer status in the OAS, and not only the Union itself but all its 27 Member States participate actively in the activities of our organization, and in the process we have developed projects of shared interest in which we could work together," said Ambassador De Zela. These projects have been intensifying, he continued, since the signing of a cooperation agreement between the two organizations in 2009, which was signed on behalf of the EU, by Ferrero-Waldner.
The event was presented by the Secretary of External Relations of the OAS, Alfonso Quiñonez, and was attended by the Chair of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Mexico, Ambassador Joel Hernández, and several representatives of the Member Countries and Observers.
The Lecture Series of the Americas was created by a resolution of the OAS Permanent Council on September 29th, 2004 as an effort to promote democratic values and principles in the countries of the Hemisphere. The monthly lectures given by world renowned speakers focus on central themes of the hemispheric agenda, such as democracy strengthening, human rights, hemispheric security, and social development, among other topics. More information is available here
A gallery of photos of the event are available here.
The video of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.