Latin America–Europe relations: Time for a new era

29 April 2010

In response to the aggressive corporate-led trade agenda of the EU, social movements from Latin America and Europe are mounting an Alternative Peoples’ Summit, the Enlazando Alternativas 4, which takes place from May 14-17 in Madrid.

In the midst of the deepening systemic global crisis, and the first major challenge to the eurozone, the European Union and the Spanish Presidency propose to the Madrid Summit of the EU -Latin America and Caribbean Heads of State, an aggressive corporate led trade and investment agenda. An EU-Trade Agreement with Colombia (rejected globally for its human rights record) and with Peru are the flagships of this strategy as well as the conclusion of a similar Agreement with Central America and the re-launching of the EU-Mercosur negotiations.

In response to this Global Europe policy and EU 2020 strategy, social movements and people’s organizations from across all social sectors in Latin America and Europe are challenging this agenda by mounting an Alternative Peoples’ Summit, the Enlazando Alternativas 4, which takes place from May 14-17 in Madrid. (Read the call and check the programme) The People’s Alternative Summit will document the impacts of such extractive trade and investment policy and the systematic violations of human rights, labour rights and environmental standards by European Transnational corporations (TNCs) across the Latin American continent. In a Session of the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) witnesses from Indigenous Peoples, farmers, trade unions, women, health professionals and grassroots communities will give testimony on the complicity of the EU together with TNCs in applying such policy instruments as Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), Bi-lateral Investment Treaties (BITs) and Export Credit Agencies as an architecture of impunity which results in largescale impoverishment of people’s lives and the erosion of their basic rights.

In addition, the Enlazando Alternativas People’s Summit (May 14-17) will debate and develop  proposals for an alternative vision of just relations between the two continents. Actual achievements in the realisation of public-public partnership reclaiming public water, food sovereignty, ways forward in climate justice and signposts for a new mandate in trade and investment relations will be highlighted.

It is time to strengthen emerging popular resistances and new convergences and solidarities between our peoples. In the face of the crisis and despite the criminalization of social movements, The Bi-regional Europe-Latin America & Caribbean Network 'Enlazando Alternativas' is mobilizing and aiming to build a bi-regional political space for mobilization.