Regional partnership arrangements EU-Latin America and Caribbean summit

In document EU annual report on human rights for 1999/2000. 11317/00, 26 September 2000 (Page 36-39)

Article 2 of the EC Treaty makes equality for women and men one of the explicit objectives of the Community Mainstreaming a gender perspective in all activities and policies is explicitly

3. EUROPEAN UNION HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVITIES ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE

3.1. EU INSTRUMENTS AND INITIATIVES IN RELATIONS WITH THIRD COUNTRIES

3.1.9. Regional partnership arrangements EU-Latin America and Caribbean summit

The first summit between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean region, held in Rio de Janeiro on 28 and 29 June 1999, provided a good opportunity for the leaders present to state their commitment to the further strengthening and protection of human rights. The "Declaration of Rio de Janeiro" and the "priorities for action" agreed at the summit highlighted the political and other values shared by the participating States.

In the Declaration of Rio de Janeiro several points refer to human rights, and in particular points 5 and 21. The second priority for action noted the agreement between the leaders to formulate programmes of cooperation aimed at further strengthening the protection and promotion of human rights. The third and fourth priorities reflected the need to prevent and combat xenophobia and racism as well as the importance of promoting and protecting the rights of the most vulnerable groups in society and of women. There have been two senior officials' follow-up meetings to discuss the implementation of the priorities for action. At the meeting in Vilamoura, Portugal on 25 February 2000 several programmes connected with human rights were proposed. These were as follows:

A) A conference of human rights experts in Brazil in November 2000 to be organised by Brazil and Portugal.

EU-Africa Summit (3 and 4 April 2000)

The first Africa-Europe Summit under the aegis of the OAU and EU, which was held in Cairo on 3 and 4 April 2000, gave the Heads of State or Government of both regions the opportunity to solemnly reaffirm a body of principles and commitments which constitute the foundation for the global partnership between Africa and Europe for the 21st century. The Cairo Declaration and Action Plan adopted at the end of the summit highlight the common values shared by the

participants, primarily the strengthening of representative and participative democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, good governance and pluralism.

The principles and commitments relating to human rights listed in Chapter IV (paragraphs 42 to 61) of the Cairo Declaration will be put into practice inter alia by the implementation of the measures described in Chapter IV (paragraphs 41 to 71) of the Action Plan. Those measures, which consist priorities to guide the actions of summit participants and will be subject to regular monitoring, cover the whole field of international cooperation in the human rights field in the broad sense, and will contribute to giving substance to the commitment of both regions to give a new dimension to their global partnership.

Third informal ASEM seminar on human rights (Paris, 19 and 20 June 2000)

The third informal ASEM seminar on human rights was held in Paris on 19 and 20 June 2000. It followed the meetings in Lund (Sweden) in December 1997 and in Beijing (June 1999). The initiative for this type of seminar was taken by France and Sweden at the meeting of ASEM Ministers for Foreign Affairs in February 1997. It was intended to make progress on the political aspect of the Europe-Asia dialogue.

The seminar brought together more than 60 participants (governments, NGOs, academics) from the member countries of ASEM. Three subjects were on the agenda:

− Freedom of expression and the right to information – Humanitarian intervention and national sovereignty − Is there a right to a healthy environment?

This informal seminar facilitated a better understanding of one another's positions, and took place in a constructive atmosphere. It will lead to a joint publication by ASEF, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Wallenberg Institute (Lund, Sweden). Indonesia will host the next seminar in 2001.

Stability and association process towards South-Eastern Europe

The European Union is strongly committed to the stabilisation and development of South-Eastern Europe. The Union's strategy is to draw the countries of the region closer to the prospect of

European integration. The key element in this strategy is the Stabilisation and Association Process for five countries in the region: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Federal Republic of

Aimed at bringing peace, stability and economic development to South-Eastern Europe, the Stabilisation and Association Process is based on political and economic conditionality. General conditions to be met by all countries include democratic reforms, respect for human and minority rights, return of refugees and displaced persons. Compliance with these conditions forms the basis for the development of bilateral relations with the EC in the field of trade, financial and economic assistance and contractual relations. These bilateral relations include, as appropriate:

(i) Stabilisation and Association Agreements: a new kind of contractual relationship offering for the first time a clear prospect of integration into the EU's structures – in return for compliance with the relevant conditions – to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania.

(ii) Autonomous and Trade Measures and other economic and trade relations;

(iii) Economic and financial assistance, inter alia PHARE assistance, OBNOVA assistance, budgetary assistance and balance-of-payments support;

(iv) Assistance for democratisation and civil society;

(v) Humanitarian aid for refugees, returnees and other persons concerned; (vi) Cooperation on justice and home affairs;

(vii) Development of a political dialogue.

The Stabilisation and Association Process is the EU's main contribution to the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe. The Stability Pact was launched by the EU in June 1999 and involves also the US, Russia, Canada, Japan, international organisations (UN, NATO, OSCE, CoE) and IFIs. It aims to support countries in South-Eastern Europe in their regional efforts to foster peace,

democracy, respect for human rights and economic prosperity in order to achieve stability in the whole region.

The Stability Pact Working Table I is devoted to Democratisation and Human Rights, and the EU, as well as the Council of Europe, has played an active role in it since the Table first met in

October 1999. At a Regional Donors Conference held in March 2000 in Brussels, the EU pledged €314 million to projects promoting human rights and democratisation (the Community pledged €191 million). These projects will start being implemented by March 2001.

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership

The Barcelona Declaration, adopted in November 1995 by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of 27 countries from north, south and east of the Mediterranean, was the founding act for a large-scale partnership between the European Union and the Mediterranean countries, with the aim of

establishing an area of peace, stability and prosperity in the region. To that end, the Barcelona process is focused around three main strands:

(i) political and security, including inter alia the approval of a "Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Peace and Stability" to be adopted at the 4th conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Partnership (Marseilles, November 2000);

(ii) economic and financial, with the aim of establishing a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area between the 27 by the year 2010, through the conclusion of association agreements between the Fifteen and each partner from south of the Mediterranean, with accompanying finance from the Union in the MEDA framework;

(iii) social, cultural and human, to promote dialogue between the cultures and peoples from both shores of the Mediterranean and the cooperation of the 27 in important areas such as

migration and the fight against terrorism and all forms of illegal trafficking.

In Barcelona, the 27 partners subscribed to a number of essential principles and obligations, particularly those stemming from the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They committed themselves to developing the rule of law and democracy, to promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and promoting pluralism and tolerance in their societies. Several initiatives were taken by the 27 to that end, including the holding of seminars of experts, the creation of networks between actors from civil society and the establishment of a "civil forum" to be held in parallel with the Ministerial conferences.

In document EU annual report on human rights for 1999/2000. 11317/00, 26 September 2000 (Page 36-39)