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Civil society at the centre of the EU- Latin America relations

The 7th meeting of civil society organisations from the EU and Latin America has been launched today in Santiago de Chile. The EESC is holding a seminar to bring together the most representative Latin American civil society actors. The conference has been opened by the EESC president Staffan Nilsson. It will look at the interest in, and means for, setting up a Chilean civil society consultative body that could serve as a counterpart for the EESC.

During the meeting, a consensual Final Declaration will be produced, to be further presented by the EESC president to the EU-Latin America & Caribbean Head of State Summit in January next year.

In his opening speech, the EESC president made clear that "participation of civil society is crucial in order to have more transparent relations and an increased ownership of political and trade exchanges, and also to have a more efficient implementation of policies. This can be better achieved through the existence of consultative bodies, which is why the EESC has always worked on the creation and strengthening of Latin American consultative institutions."

President Nilsson used the occasion of this assembly to meet Mr Alfonso Silva Navarro, Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Chile and Mr Dochao Moreno, Head of the EU Delegation in Chile.

The EESC organises meetings of civil society organisation from the EU and Latin America (including Cuba) since the beginning of the EU-LAC Head of State Summits in 1999. The seminar aims at implementing Article 10 of the EU- Chile Association Agreement, regarding civil society joint monitoring of the agreement. The Committee underlined the importance of setting up an equivalent body in Chile. This would boost opportunities for consolidating dialogue between different social stakeholders, and between them and the competent authorities.