EU and Colombia today open a new chapter to strengthen bilateral relations

EU and Colombia agreed on a “Memorandum of Understanding on an Agenda of enhanced political and sectoral dialogue and cooperation for the next decade”, signed by High Representative Josep Borrell and the Vice-President and Foreign Minister of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez in New York, in the presence of President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the Republic of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez.

The Memorandum of Understanding highlights the importance of EU-Colombia relations and the intention to take forward and to deepen and strengthen our longstanding ties.

President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Colombia is a key ally of the European Union and a like-minded partner at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. Today, we committed to taking our relationship further: working jointly to address global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Closer engagement is also crucial on climate change and on the environment, and we agreed on an ambitious environmental agenda, as enshrined in the Green Deal and in Colombia’s own policies.”

High Representative/Vice-President, Josep Borrell, said: “Today, we mark another milestone on the path towards ever deeper and broader EU relations with Colombia. This memorandum will not only allow us to strengthen our partnership, further strengthen our cooperation on foreign policy issues, but also opens the prospect of an ambitious new political framework for our relations. The implementation of the 2016 peace agreement, as contribution to global peace and security, will remain at the heart of our engagement.”

The Memorandum identifies five priorities to guide the development of EU-Colombia relations:

the successful implementation of the 2016 peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC as a contribution to global peace and stability;
the ambitious agenda on the environment, climate change, resilience and biodiversity;
the economic and social agenda including the digital agenda that promotes sustainable and inclusive growth and economic, social and territorial cohesion in the European Union and Colombia;
the agenda of solidarity, around the Venezuelan refugee and migratory crisis and its impact on Colombia and the region as well as all facets of migration; and
the multilateral agenda and cooperation on global and regional foreign policy issues to strengthen multilateralism and a rules based global order.
Furthermore, the Memorandum lists 12 sectors where cooperation can be increased and/or expanded under the above priorities.

Background

The EU has close and long-standing relations with Colombia. Colombia is an important partner in multilateralism, climate change and other key priorities such as peace and stability. The EU’s support to the peace process (implementation of the 2016 peace agreement) is at the heart of the EU’s engagement.

Milestones of the relationship include the 2013 Trade Agreement; a short-term visa waiver agreement (2015) and a Framework Participation Agreement to participate in EU-led CSDP missions (entry into force in 2020).

The EU is Colombia’s third trade partner after the US and China, the largest source of FDI and an important development partner.)

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