EU must ‘respond robustly’ to ‘unfair trade’ says von der Leyen
Ursula von der Leyen’s announcement of her commitment to strike a €45billion (£38billion) deal with Latin American nations has sparked fury in Europe.
Leaders of the Brussels bloc are meeting with their Latin American counterparts this week to strike a much-anticipated deal between the two blocs.
But as the EU Commission vowed its commitment to the agreement, critics in the EU have pointed out the whopping €45billion (£38billion) pledge would come as a slap in the face for EU taxpayers.
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In a note sent to Express.co.uk, Italian MEP Alessandro Panza said: “I learned today from Ursula Von der Leyen’s announcements of the EU’s intention to invest 45 billion in Latin America. This is undoubtedly excellent news, for Latin America of course. We would like to know where the European Commission intends to get this money to build, among other things, a subway line in Colombia or guarantee universal access to energy in Panama, naturally as well as from the pockets of Italian and European taxpayers.
“I am sure that they are all worthy works, which must certainly be supported, but since on more than one occasion we have come up against a lack of funds for the territories, it is legitimate to ask whether these are the priorities for the EU: really not Is there any country or region in Europe that needs more urgently those resources, the fruit of our money?”
Amidst the tireless efforts of ambassadors working through the night and into the early hours of Tuesday morning, reaching consensus on even the mildest condemnatory statements regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine proved to be a challenging undertaking. The inclusion of certain Central and South American nations, such as Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, expressing reservations further fuelled contentious deliberations.
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Amidst the mounting frustrations, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel expressed exasperation, stating: “It would be a shame that we are not able to say that there is Russian aggression in Ukraine. It’s a fact. And I’m not here to rewrite history.”
Taking an even bolder stance, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar stressed the significance of meaningful language.
He said: “Sometimes it’s better to have no conclusions at all than to have language that doesn’t mean anything.”
The eagerly awaited summit, which took place eight years after its predecessor, rapidly descended into a deadlock over the question of which side would yield first regarding an issue that had already garnered overwhelming support from the majority of the 60 participating nations in various votes held at the United Nations and other international institutions.
While the 27-member EU aimed to focus the summit on forging new economic initiatives and fostering closer cooperation to counter the growing influence of China in the region, several leaders from the 33-nation Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) resurrected age-old grievances concerning colonialism and slavery, injecting a historical dimension into the standoff.
Highlighting the persisting disparities, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who currently holds the CELAC presidency, asserted, “Most of Europe was, and still is, overwhelmingly the lopsided beneficiary in a relationship in which our Latin America, and our Caribbean, have been and are unequally yoked.”
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