Brussels, 13 October 2003
The second round of negotiations for a new Political Dialogue and Co-operation Agreement between the EU and the Andean Community (CAN) takes place in Quito (Ecuador) from 13 to 15 October. The EU negotiating team will be lead by Mrs. Astrid Schomaker, Head of the Andean Community Unit at the European Commission's External Relations Directorate General while the Andean negotiating team will be lead by Ambassador Mentor Villagómez, Head of the Ecuadorian Mission to the EU. Ecuador is the current holder of the rotating Presidency of the Andean Community. The Commission hopes that, building on the substantial progress made during the first round of negotiations in May in Brussels, both parties will be able to complete the negotiation in Quito and initial the text of the new agreement.
The decision to negotiate this agreement was taken by Heads of State and Government at the Madrid European Union-Latin America and Caribbean Summit in 2002. The new EU-CAN Agreement would provide a new contractual framework for the political dialogue, focus it more on the concerns of both regions (such as security, regional development and stability, conflict prevention and resolution, human rights, democracy, good governance, terrorism, migration and drugs), and intensify exchanges at working level. The provisions of the agreement on co-operation would aim at widening the scope of the bi-regional relationship and in particular support the Andean Community's regional integration process in the economic, political and social fields.
The Andean region was the first region in Latin America with which the EU concluded a regional co-operation agreement. Relations between the EU and the CAN already encompass a large spectrum of co-operation fields and are currently governed by the second regional framework agreement which was signed in 1993. This agreement is complemented by a separate Declaration of 1996 laying down modalities for political dialogue. The EU grants the Andean community a very generous trade regime known as the 'drugs' GSP under which 90% of the products exported by the Andean countries are exempt from customs duties.
The European Union is the leading donor to the Andean Community with EU aid worth about €810 million in 2001 (source: OECD Development Aid Committee). Historically, the European Commission has granted significant levels of development co-operation to the Andean Community, averaging some €130 million per annum over the past ten years. This co-operation has focused on human rights and democracy, regional integration, integrated rural development, infrastructure and social development. The new Agreement will expand current co-operation to include new areas such as conflict prevention, uprooted people, migration and counter-terrorism.
For more information on the relations between the EU and the Andean Community: