Visit of José Manuel Barroso to Colombia: joint press conference with Juan Manuel Santos
Type: Complete press conference
End production: 12/12/2013 First transmission: 12/12/2013
On 12 December 2013, José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, travelled to Bogotá, Colombia, en met with Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, to discuss the recent implementation of the EU-Colombia Trade Agreement, the solidarity and support of the EU to Colombia's peace and the future of their bilateral relations in the global context.On this occasion, they gave a joint press conference following their meeting.
President Barroso paid a two days visit to Colombia. This was the first time that a President of the European Commission visited the country.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, and Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, to the press conference
||Speakers being introduced
||Soundbite by Juan Manuel Santos (in SPANISH) giving some welcoming words to José Manuel Barroso and saying that his visit took place in an important moment for the relations between the European Union and Colombia. They had discussions on the peace process and he wants to thank the European Union for its support in this direction. Recently, the United Kingdom unanimously approved a treaty and it shows that the perception of Colombia in Europe has changed. They also discussed about Free Trade Agreement and cooperation in military matters, exploring new forms of cooperation. They launched the negotiations for a Cooperation Framework Agreement.
||Soundbite by José Manuel Barroso (in SPANISH) saying that is his pleasure to visit Colombia. This is his first visit and the first visit to this great country by a president of the European Commission. This is a justified and necessary visit. Justified because their relations are excellent and Colombia is one of their most important partners in Latin America.
Colombia is necessary because it is living a crucial time in its modern history with peace negotiations and he wanted to personally come to express the support of the European Union in this process and the reforms initiated under the leadership of President Manuel Santos.
On behalf of the European Union, he encourages them to continue their efforts to overcome the considerable obstacles remaining on the path to peace. The European experience shows that even if peace is costly, it is worthwhile.
The FARC have a great responsibility to reach peace, and he would like to call their leaders to be up to the historic moment Colombia is living now.
He assures that the European Commission will continue alongside Colombia at this important time and will answer its solidarity efforts. He confirmed to the President their willingness to provide financial support for the implementation of the agreement that could be achieved. Colombia is also one of the few countries of medium to high income that will continue to benefit from the financial support of the European Union. This demonstrates the importance they attach to their relations with Colombia.
Since August this year, the European Union and Colombia benefit from a trade agreement.
In recent years, the European Union has been the second most important trade partner of Colombia and Colombia is an increasingly important investment destination for the European Union. Colombian exports to the EU increased by 82 % between 2010 and 2012. Investment flows almost nonexistent ten years ago, reached a level of 1 800 million in 2011 with a cumulative total of more than 9000 million at the end of last year. These are impressive figures.
This agreement represents an important step forward in their bilateral relations. It will contribute to growth and sustainable development on both sides of the Atlantic.
But to achieve this, the work has only just begun. In fact, it is now when they must direct all their efforts to make the business community and individual entrepreneurs are aware of the opportunities offered by the Agreement and help them use it.
In this regard, the European Union expressed its commitment to cooperate with Colombia. In fact, to energise, for example, the dairy sector, they committed to a programme of 30 million Euros. Almost a third of that is already in progress and the rest is about to sign the financing contract, early 2014.
President Santos just confirmed the importance of Colombia and Colombians will provide to the issue of visas to enter the countries of Europe. They had also talked on the phone. The situation in Colombia is improving greatly and may provide a future removal of Schengen visas for Colombians.
Colombia is an actor who plays an increasingly important role on the international stage. The extensive discussions that he has just had with President Santos confirms that they share common views regarding a variety of issues on the international agenda, such as the fight against climate change and how to ensure that this fight actively contributes to poverty reduction, another important challenge faced by the international community.
They will also continue to support Colombia's efforts to join the OECD, which constitute a recognition of progress.
His meeting today with President Santos reflects the close cooperation between the EU and Colombia, and has allowed them to talk in depth about the challenges they face.
He is pleased to confirm that President Santos and himself have agreed to launch negotiations for a Political Framework Agreement which put a more general approach to all the different areas of cooperation. Apart from the trade agreement, there are political domains, for example, cooperation in human rights, together with very important safety aspect where Colombia has significant experience and they can work together in such actions to preserve peace.
They are also trying to work together today where the EU has competence, for example, significant expertise in climate change issues, environmental issues, the important issues of technology transfer, research. Programmes, some of which is benefiting Colombia and other Latin American countries. But they will have this more general framework agreement, an agreement with a clear strategy, a much more secure environment, stable, understandable of which are very important relations between Colombia and the European Union.
Again, thank you for the hospitality. He would like to assure the European Union will be at their side in order to support their efforts to achieve peace and consolidate the significant progress made in recent years in the economic and social field.
Thank you very much.