EuroLat: support for democracy while reinforcing partnership

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Support for endangered democracy in Venezuela, respect for democratic rights in Nicaragua and remembrance of, reparation and justice for the victims of 50 years of terrorism in the conflict in Columbia, were the political priorities of the EPP Group Members participating this week in the ninth Plenary Session of the Euro-Latin Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat). In a joint declaration with the associated members from sister parties of the EuroLat Assembly, the EPP Group MEPs also outlined their strong support for the ongoing negotiations for the early conclusion of an Association Agreement between the EU and Mercosur.

Luis de Grandes MEP, EPP Group Spokesman in the EuroLat Assembly and Chairman of the Andean Delegation, made a strong call for solidarity with the Venezuelan people: “We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to all the shocking images of people dying of hunger, teenagers spending their youth buried in underground jails, politicians arrested for belonging to Venezuelan opposition parties. We join the cry of millions of people for a recall referendum before the end of 2016 as the only democratic and constitutional tool to reinforce the right of the people of Venezuela to decide on their own future. Democracy is non-negotiable! We firmly stand by the Venezuelans in their fight for freedom to regain their dignity.”

At the same time, Luis de Grandes regretted that no international observation invitation has been issued for the presidential elections in Nicaragua in November: "Opposition members being denied the chance to run for the elections is a breach of universal democratic principles. We deplore the unlawful dismissal of 28 members of the democratic opposition. President Ortega's intentions to remain in power by any means - by the spurious modification of the Constitution in the past, control of all the institutions, without respecting the separation of powers, and the attempts to impose a nepotist regime with a single political party, bundled with an unacceptable level of corruption - are unacceptable.”

“The countries of the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean are natural allies linked by strong historical, cultural and economic ties and cooperate closely on an international level. The time has come to strengthen this relationship and step up our political, trade and cooperation relations”, stressed Antonio Tajani MEP, European Parliament Vice-President responsible for relations with Latin America.

“We cannot abandon Latin America and the Caribbean to the Chinese and the North Americans. We must be more present in that region. The election result in Argentina, the change of the Brazilian presidency and Venezuela's pro tempore presidency of Mercosur, are clear evidence that demonstrate an unequivocal will to advance in the search for an ambitious, and at the same time balanced, trade agreement beneficial to both sides. It will enhance economic growth, job creation, social development and cooperation resulting in the creation of a stable legal framework ensuring the highest level of consumer and environmental protection”, concluded Tajani.

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The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 215 Members from 27 Member States

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