The European Union and Chile, ever closer

Chile is opening a new stage full of hope. In Europe we closely follow its constitutional process, a source of inspiration for new spaces for participation, egalitarian and inclusive.

Bringing political power closer to a citizenry that sees how economic growth does not reduce social inequalities is a common challenge. We Europeans launched this year the “Conference on the Future of Europe”, with gender parity and a third of the seats reserved for young people. It is not a question, as in Chile, of drafting a Constitution because the European Union is not a State. We already tried without success. But we need to guide our supranational integration ensuring that it responds to the needs and desires of our citizens.

Russia’s increasingly brutal aggression against Ukraine prevented me from attending the Presidential Change of Command ceremony on March 11. But I hope to be able to visit Chile soon and personally convey a message of congratulations and also our thanks for President Boric’s leadership in unequivocally condemning the Russian aggression.

Chile has joined the vast majority of countries that condemn the violation of the United Nations Charter, International Law and Human Rights. This unjustified war, the war decided by Putin, brings us even closer in our shared vision of an international community based on rules, dialogue, cooperation and peaceful resolution of disputes.

For Europeans, Chile is a privileged partner. We share the conviction that collective, cooperative and multilateral action is central to solving the most urgent challenges, both in terms of security and recovery from the pandemic, the fight against climate change or the transition to a more sustainable and fair. These challenges force us to speed up our political responses and do so on a global scale because most of the problems of our time do not have national solutions.

For this reason, the modernization of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Chile will be a milestone in expanding our already very important relationship. The European Union, the first investor in Chile, has been an important actor for the development, internationalization and diversification of its economy. But in addition to the economy and trade, new chapters must be opened on sustainable development, fair trade, citizen participation, small and medium-sized enterprises, cooperation in health or modernization of the State.

I have already had the opportunity to talk with President Boric and Foreign Minister Urrejola about all this. Its commitment to an agenda of social and political transformation opens up new possibilities for dialogue and cooperation with the EU, from social cohesion and gender equality to the development of renewable energies.

The potential for our cooperation is immense. We scrutinize space together from the Paranal astronomical observatory, we scrutinize the earth from the Copernicus satellite system, which has a reference center at the University of Chile, and we recently inaugurated the Bella cable, a digital highway with innumerable applications for education, science , the private company or the public administrations. I want to highlight the cooperation for the development of green hydrogen that will allow us to advance in meeting the goal of carbon-neutrality. European demand for green hydrogen will quadruple before 2030. And Chile is preparing to produce and export the most competitive hydrogen in the world from renewable energy.

From the European Union we value President Boric’s commitment to strengthening regional and continental relations in Latin America. That is also our DNA, because the European integration project builds unity from differences and has allowed us to overcome our fratricidal wars. For this reason, now that war is once again looming on our borders, it is more important than ever to highlight the role of the EU as an instrument at the service of peace. Without forgetting that, although it takes two to make peace, one is enough to provoke a war. And to avoid it we need an international order in which force does not engender law.

I hope to be able to visit Chile soon, an essential piece in the transatlantic-South relationship and focused on the Pacific, which will be the main stage of history in this century. President Boric would be the fourth President of Chile to do me the honor of receiving me at La Moneda. Since Ricardo Lagos, then Minister of Public Works like me, invited me to visit Chile in the mid-1990s, I have learned to know and love this wonderful country, from the northern salt flats to the upright Patagonian towers, passing through its deep lakes south of the Biobío, which the conquerors never crossed. From the hand of Isabel Allende’s books I have learned her story, intertwined by those who from one side of the ocean to the other fled from their respective dictatorships and were welcomed fraternally.

Now, the EU wants to strengthen its cooperation with Chile for the common goal of building a fairer and more democratic society. Knowing that friendship between peoples, as the Nobel Prize for Literature, poet, consul and Chilean pedagogue Gabriela Mistral said, is made of thorough understanding, quick trust and long memory. To be stronger together.

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The European Union and Chile, ever closer