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Minister Rupel Chaired EU-Brazil Troika Meeting

Slovenian Foreign Minister and President of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council Dimitrij Rupel today chaired the EU-Brazil Troika meeting at the ministerial level.The European Commission was represented by Commissioner Benita Ferrero Waldner and Brazil's delegation was led by the Minister of External Relations, Celso Amorim.Representatives of the EU Council General Secretariat and the upcoming French Presidency also participated.They discussed cooperation between the EU and Brazil, focusing in particular on the Action Plan implementation, as well as the fight against poverty, the environment and climate change, European security, biofuels, and migration; They also addressed some general issues such as EU-Latin American relations, the general political situation in Latin America, and the latest international issues.Furthermore, Minister Rupel familiarized his interlocutors with certain issues in relation to the Lisbon Strategy implementation and the planned EU enlargements.


EU-Brazil cooperation

As regards cooperation between the EU and Brazil, the Slovenian Foreign Minister referred to the conclusions of last year's first EU-Brazil Summit, which saw a commitment to broader dialogue on global, regional, and bilateral issues of common strategic interest, by upgrading the partnership on the basis of common fundamental values and principles.The participants also agreed that this partnership should operate successfully and be focused on achieving results and shaping the future.To this end, they commenced drafting a joint action plan, which is due to be completed by the next summit at the end of 2008.


Climate change

Minister Rupel said that climate change is one of the most pressing issues today – it is becoming more and more evident that urgent action is needed. The Minister furthermore underlined that European leaders had reached a decision to support the commencement of negotiations on a global and comprehensive agreement for the period after 2012."The EU tried to send a clear long-term message on the future use of flexible mechanisms after 2012, especially trade in emissions and mechanisms of clean development," stressed the Minister.The Slovenian Minister confirmed the EU's position with regard to the developed countries continuing to have a leading role in the fight against climate change and setting themselves higher objectives as regards the reduction of emissions. He added that he was aware that "Brazil had already adopted measures to alleviate the impact of climate change and to adapt to it."The Minister appreciates the positive and constructive relations with Brazil in the area of climate change.The EU does not agree with the introduction of quantitative objectives for developing countries, as economic and social development and the eradication of poverty are their first and most important task.However, there is a broad variety of alternative possibilities available for reducing the amount of emissions that are a consequence of economic development.Decisive action in the field of climate policy results also in many additional benefits, for example less polluted air and water, which have a positive impact on health.


Relations with Latin America

According  to Minister Rupel, the European Union stressed at the recent Summit in Lima the importance of dialogue between the EU and Latin America, in the desire to establish closer ties at the regional level with Mercosur, the organisation of the South American Common Market.They were unified in the wish for the successful completion of the WTO Doha negotiations, which will facilitate a balanced agreement between the EU and Mercosur.They confirmed the commitment to use the 1995 agreement to strengthen bilateral relations between the two regions and accelerate the negotiations for the new EU-Mercosur agreement.

As regards the situation in Latin America, Dr Rupel stated that the EU closely followed the democratic changes in some Latin American countries, particularly in the Andean region, where some groups which had been traditionally excluded from public life were becoming increasingly involved in it, and where awareness of the importance of social, economic, and ethnic rights was also growing."Each period of transition towards a more representative democracy can lead to some instability, but provides a good opportunity for the strengthening of democracy from the bottom up," added the Slovenian Foreign Minister.In Minister Rupel's assessment, this is a historical opportunity with positive effects but one that requires a cautious approach by all political actors.

Minister Rupel added that the EU would do everything in its power to strengthen democracy which "is more than just democratic elections"; it also involves democratic institutions, the rule of law, the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary, and respect for human rights.These processes must be accompanied by a broad consensus, improved representation of all population groups, and governments that enjoy the trust of the people.Our common objective must be better social and economic development amongst the population, particularly those at the social margins.

The Minister furthermore underlined that all South American governments had been democratically elected and made considerable achievements in the areas of the economy, relatively low inflation, for example, taxation policy, and in general as regards all social indicators.The EU is also pleased to note that countries in the region have actively intervened in the alleviation of crisis situations in Latin America.The Slovenian Foreign Minister additionally stated that the EU welcomed the establishment of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUL) on 23 May 2008.

Minister Rupel acquainted his interlocutors with some EU issues, particularly with the content of the Treaty of Lisbon and its ratification procedure, EU enlargement and the EU's position on some international questions, especially in connection with the Middle East Peace Process.


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Date: 13.06.2008