Closer Carib,LatAm ties with the EU eyed

The newly-founded European Union (EU)-Latin America and Caribbean Foundation (EU-LAC) opened its headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, on Nov. 5, aimed at developing economic relations between the German government and Caribbean and Latin American countries.

The northern port city had applied to be the headquarters of the foundation and received the honor with the recommendation of high-ranking E.U. officials and regional countries, officials here said.

Mayor of Hamburg Olaf Scholz said he will now receive German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, president of the foundation Benita Ferrero-Waldner and executive director Jorge Valdez, in addition to the high-ranking representatives of the 60 participating nations.

He told reporters in Hamburg that the foundation will serve as a “catalyst for joint strategies and actions,” stepping up relationship between Europe and the region “at all levels.”

As the third-largest port in Europe, Hamburg has traditionally had close contact with the region, Scholz said. Furthermore, about 20 regional consulate headquarters are based in the city.

As a port, the city has a long-standing tradition of collaboration with the region, Scholz said, adding that Jewish merchants from Spain and Portugal, on the run from the “Inquisition”, settled in the “liberal city” and ran their businesses with the “new” continent from there.

Today, Scholz said more than 260,000 containers pass through Hamburg’s port on their journey from the region to Europe.

Additionally, Hamburg has special bi- and multi-lateral trade agreements with many regional countries, Scholz said.

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