HR/VP Catherine Ashton's Travelling EU Circus moves on to South America at Expense of Taxpayers
On the 21st January, 2013, in Brussels, the European Commission announced the forthcoming visit of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission (HR/VP), to Peru and Chile, ahead of her attending a number of bilateral meetings with Latin American leaders. Speaking ahead of her visit to Lima, HR/VP Catherine Ashton said: “We have come a long way in our relations with Peru but there is still great untapped potential. We salute the important progress that Peru has made on social inclusion. We are keen to continue joint efforts to fight illegal drug production and to support alternative development. We appreciate Peru’s engagement at regional level as demonstrated in its Presidency of UASUR and I am certain it will be a very constructive voice in the forthcoming EU-CELAC Summit”. (A 31/13)
On 22nd January, in Lima, HR/VP Catherine Ashton, who met with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso and Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo, addressed a meeting of Peruvian ministers, saying what a privilege it was for her to be in Lima, her second visit there, although her first in the capacity of High Representative. During her speech HR/VP Ashton said that in addition to her visit there would be delegations from the European Parliament (MEPs), the European Commission and the Member States. On the agenda was the imminent implementation of the Trade Agreement, focussing on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), between Peru and the EU, which the participants hoped would benefit all parties by providing an opportunity for the EU and Peru to trade with each other.
As part of her official visit to Peru, HR/VP Ashton, alongside the Peruvian First Lady Nadine Heredia, also addressed an EURO-PAN event, highlighting EU support for Peru’s Child Nutrition programme, and met some of the beneficiaries of that programme (mothers and children who are getting the benefit of ensuring that children receive proper nutrition, proper support). HR/VP Ashton, who welcomed the personal involvement of the First Lady Nadine Heredia in the fight against child malnutrition, said, “I want to praise Peru for taking its economic growth and translating that into addressing the challenges of social inclusion and reducing inequality. The EU’s participation in this programme is an expression of our values, of the links we have with Peru and of our desire to see the country prosper and grow”. (IP/13/41)
EURO-PAN is the name of the EU's first Budget Support Programme in Peru, with a provision of €60.8 million, and is one of the EU's largest on-going sector budget support programmes in South America. "Main elements of the EUROPAN programme are: improvement of public finance management in Peru at national and subnational levels; aid effectiveness, progress in respect of key performance indicators most relevant to effectively reduce child malnutrition; targeting those most in need. Since the start of the programme the prevalence of child malnutrition among children less than three years old has been reduced by 10%: from 28.5% in 2007 to 18,6% in mid-2012." (IP/13/41)
Following talks in Peru, HR/VP Ashton will move onto Santiago, where she will meet with Foreign Ministers from Latin American and Caribbean states and address the joint EU-Latin America Parliamentary Assembly (EUROLAT), and on 25th January she will co-chair the EU (European Union)-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting under the theme "Working together towards growth and stability". The main event, the first Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the European Union, entitled "Alliance for Sustainable Development: Promoting Investments of Social and Environmental Quality", will be held between 26th and 27th January, and will be hosted by 2012 CELAC President Pro Tempore Chile. (The Santiago summit will be the seventh since the inaugural EU-LAC summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1999 and the first summit with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States as the EU's counterpart.)
Speaking ahead of her participation in the EU-CELAC summit and Ministerial meeting in Santiago, HR/VP Catherine Ashton said: "The EU's relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, founded in a common history and culture and inspired by shared values, are as strong as they have ever been. The expansion of human and economic exchanges has strengthened further the bonds between our societies. I look forward to the Santiago summit as an opportunity to underline that we share common values such as democracy and human rights, but also that we share global responsibilities- for example, working together to deal with challenges such as security and climate change. We increasingly share common approaches on these critical issues." (A 31/13)
Participants at these meetings will include MEPs from the European Parliament who will be able to claim expenses for flights, hotels and sustenance, during their attendance. Consequently the entire travelling circus will cost the EU taxpayers millions.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 12 February 2013 13:39)