Media Center

Press Release


  November 19, 2009

The Twentieth Policy Round Table of the Organization of American States (OAS) today highlighted the significance of the role played by international cooperation in the strengthening of democracy in the hemisphere, while calling for the various regional blocks to act jointly to achieve progress in governance.

At the Round Table, titled, “Promoting Democracy and Interregional Cooperation,” the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) presented the report “Democracy in Development: Global Consultations on the European Union’s Role in Democracy Building,” conducted with the support of the Government of Sweden.

In his welcoming remarks, the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, highlighted the process of debate as a way through which the European Union “could make better use of regional institutions such as ours in the ongoing dialogue to strengthen democracy,” while emphasizing that “international cooperation can play an important role in strengthening the capacity of all our democracies.”

The Director of the Development Project of IDEA International, Ingrid Wetterqvist, presented the report “Democracy in Development” that evaluated the foreign practices and policies of the European Union in relation to the support of and building of democracy around the world.
Wetterqvist explained that democracy is one of the fundamental goals of foreign initiatives of the European Union, and that the report has as its goal to unify criteria regarding the role that this regional block should play in the building of global democracy.

Part of this process, she indicated, involves the “exploration of the perceptions of the partners” of Europe, basically in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, the Arab World, South Asia and East Asia. “The understanding of the perceptions and perspectives of the ‘other’ parties can provide the basis for improving communication and giving direction to policy changes,” Wetterqvist said.

The report states that “the strategy European Union-Latin America is comprehensive. This document understands that most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have established democracies. The strategy therefore seeks to elaborate on the needs and possibilities of the region, using the term democratic governance.”

Following the presentation, a debate panel included the participation of Angelos Pangratis, Minister and Assistant Delegation Chief of the European Union Permanent Observer Mission to the OAS; Ambassador Graeme Clark, Permanent Representative of Canada to the OAS; Jorge Skinner-Klee, Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the OAS; and Robert Devlin, Director of the OAS Department of State Modernization and Good Governance. The event closed with the words of Maria Leissner, Ambassador for Democracy of the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Sweden.

Reference: E-388/09