Bi-continental presidential conference heads to Chile’s capital

With an eye towards increased sustainable investment in Latin America, academics, businessmen, foreign ministers, and heads of state to convene in Santiago.

Finance ministers and members of the judicial branches of over 50 European, Latin American, and Caribbean nations (EU-LAC) have been holding important business meetings in Santiago and the surrounding areas over the past few weeks.

Still to come are reunions of intellectuals and academics, foreign ministers, and prominent international businessmen. All of these separate conversations preempt the prestigious EU-LAC Presidential Summit to be held in Santiago on January 25 and 26.

2013’s EU-LAC summit will be the fourth biennial conference, one that represents an alliance aimed to increase economic ties between Latin America, Caribbean and European nations. Summit locations alternate between Europe and Latin America and have been hosted by Austria, Peru, and Madrid, dating back to 2006.

At a press conference in anticipation of the event, Chile’s Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno expressed some of Chile and Latin America’s goals for the summit.

According to Moreno, the EU-LAC summit will foster “alliances for sustainable development, promoting socially and environmentally minded investments.”

Moreno went on to explain how the world’s current economic environment offers even more vitality to a partnership between Europe and Latin America.

“In contrast to the difficult economic situation Europe is experiencing, our continent has seen sustained growth in most countries,” Moreno explained. “For the first time Latin America can be part of the solution to the global crisis rather than the problem.”

Economic relations between European and Latin Americans nations strengthen each year. According to the International Economic Relations Committee of the Chilean Foreign Ministry, trade between the two continents has increased on an average of 13 percent yearly between 2002 and 2011. From 2010 to 2011 alone this increase reached an impressive 23.9 percent.

The upcoming summit will be the largest international conference of its kind ever to be hosted in Chile. In 1998, Chile hosted 34 nations for the Summit of the Americas, a seemingly small number compared to the 61 nations anticipated this January. The upcoming events and culminating presidential summit will be held in Espacio Riesco, a convention center located to the north of downtown Santiago.