The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2005URL (Internet address) : http://www.eu2005.lu/en/actualites/communiques/2005/05/26ue-and/
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EU supports fight against poverty and exclusion in the Andean Community countries
At the end of the EU-Andean Community ministerial meeting held in Luxembourg on 26 May, the current President of the Council of the EU, Jean Asselborn, stated:
"At our ministerial meeting between the European Union and the Andean Community which I co-chaired with Venezuela’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alí Rodriguez Araque, and my colleague, Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and which was attended by all the Member States of the Union as well as Romania and Bulgaria for the first time in this framework, we had a highly worthwhile exchange of views on the status of relations between the European Union and the Andean Community and on progress made in regional integration. We also evaluated the political situation in the different Andean countries.
I am delighted to report that the Andean Community and the European Union have had very intense relations since our first cooperation agreement which goes back all the way to 1983, and the institutionalisation of our political dialogue, which goes back to the Rome Declaration of 1996.
The European Union reaffirmed the importance of solid and effective institutions and structures that permit the promotion of effective cooperation between our two regions.
My colleague Benita and I expressed our satisfaction with the progress made in regional integration and we reiterated that the European Union fully supports this process.
We took an important step in our bilateral relations with the signing in Rome in December 2003 of the political dialogue and cooperation agreement.
In our discussions we also dealt with recent developments in the Andean integration process, in particular the initiatives to create an Andean peace zone and to fight poverty and exclusion.
One word came up again and again: drugs and drug production in these countries. We are aware that these countries must be given a chance to develop alternatives. It is incumbent on us to propose measures to these countries to finance the alternatives.
One of these alternatives is the GSP+ Project (General System of Preferences), a subject also of considerable interest to the Andean Community countries.
As I already had the opportunity to say today, the Presidency reassured the member countries of the Andean Community that it will continue efforts to reach an agreement on the new GSP arrangement by the end of June."