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OAS Secretary General Discussed the Challenges of the New "Atlantic Community" at an Event Organized by the Johns Hopkins University

  March 5, 2014

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today participated in the debate on the conformation of new transatlantic relations at the presentation of the document: "A New Atlantic Community: Generating Growth, Human Development and Security in the Atlantic Hemisphere," prepared by the leaders of the Atlantic Basin Initiative, which promotes the United States-based University "Johns Hopkins".

The event , held at the headquarters of the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, also featured former President of the Government of Spain, and leader of this initiative of the Center for Transatlantic Relations of that educational institution, José María Aznar; former World Bank President and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz; the Director of Latin American Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University, Riordan Roett; the Ambassador of the European Union in the United States, Joao Vale de Almeida, and the founder the UN Millennium Campaign, Eveline Herfkens .

In his presentation, Secretary General Insulza highlighted the objectives of the Atlantic Basin Initiative and its vision to support sustainable growth, human development and security in the countries on both sides of the ocean. However, he said that there are some concerns that should be considered to maximize the potential of this venture.

The first point of analysis the Secretary General Insulza referred to was the importance of promoting a "mega block" of Atlantic nations that is not seen as a competition or rivalry with other blocks, but, on the contrary, one that encourages inclusion and responds appropriately to the economic and human development realities and needs of the countries that compose it, with a broad and inclusive view of globalization. "We must understand the importance of targeting the creation of these mega blocks to promote globalization and not to promote competition or division, which would be very damaging especially for developing countries in the Atlantic Basin," he said , commenting that the project itself must be seen as a path towards a more integrated and globalized world .

The leader of the hemispheric institution also referred to the importance of analyzing how to develop in the Atlantic space new forms of cooperation to meet the challenges that come with the new century in economic, environmental and security terms, and how to "adapt the institutional framework for regional integration and transatlantic relations to support this renewed space of cooperation.”

In his speech at Johns Hopkins University, Secretary General Insulza praised the diversity in terms of growth and development of the countries of the Atlantic Community, and considered very important to find a balance in terms of inclusion, leadership and participation between North and South on both sides of the Atlantic. That balance, he said, does not exist today, although most OAS member countries are located on the Atlantic side of the hemisphere and their role and participation are critical to the success of a project of high magnitude as the redefinition of the Atlantic space.

"The clearest example we have of this dynamic imbalance in the case of trade negotiations between Canada and the European Union, and between the United States and the European Union, which have been much more significant than those between Mercosur and the European Union, that have been being negotiated since 17 years ago." " It is an imbalance that we must pay attention to if we want to achieve greater inclusiveness," he said, and called for the creation of a forum for dialogue where the main actors of developed and developing countries are involved to reach consensus and initiatives common to the entire region .

Finally, Secretary General Insulza stressed the importance of strengthening the South- South relations as well as intra-regional relations to achieve greater benefit of the expanded cooperation initiatives at the block level. "We must avoid the perception that there is a competition of blocks, we have countries that are part of both the Pacific and Atlantic, and seeing the integration of the two groups as a benefit allows us to create stronger communities worldwide," he concluded.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-076/14