In the framework of the co-organised high-level event "EU-Central America Dialogue Sessions: New Partnerships for Development & International Forum for Youth and Employment" Leire Pajín, President of the EU-LAC Foundation and her team, travelled to Panama City.
The EU-Central America Dialogue Sessions were co-organised by the EU-LAC Foundation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama, the OECD Development Centre, and the Carolina Foundation, and convened relevant stakeholders from governmental agencies, civil society and intergovernmental bodies on June 1-2. The two-day encounter facilitated an open exchange on the priorities of a renewed EU-Central American partnership and offered the participants the possibility to build on already existing ties and to directly engage in joint action for proposals for a solidified bi-regional association.
In the course of this official mission between May 30 and June 4, 2022, Mrs Leire Pajín also participated in several bilateral meetings to advance the Foundation’s cooperation with European and Central American key actors with a view to its strategic lines of work. In the meeting with Mrs Erika Mouynes, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, President Pajín emphasised the importance of the EU-LAC Foundation as a strategic instrument in service of the bi-regional association, and specifically in view of a possible EU-CELAC Summit to be held in 2023. In this sense, Minister Mouynes welcomed the strategic vision of the Foundation and expressed the commitment of the Panamanian ministry to the International Organisation.
On June 1, in dialogue with Mrs Anita Zetina, Secretary General of the Central America Social Integration Secretariat (SISCA), the importance of the social agenda in Central America was addressed. President Pajín recalled that in the framework of the EU-LAC International Women’s Network, the Foundation is working on Care Societies as one of its thematic areas. Therefore, both institutions agreed on a common interest in advancing the discussion around LAC and EU regional social policies. President Pajín emphasised that the EU-LAC Women’s International Network aims to be a bi-regional platform of concertation and dialogue, but also an intergovernmental space and, therefore, extended an invitation for closer collaborations with the SISCA.
Possible areas of common interest and strategic collaborations between the corresponding organisations were also addressed during meetings between Mrs Pajín and Mrs Kyungnan Park, Deputy Director General of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Latin America and the Caribbean, and with representatives from the United Nations Development Programme’s Latin America and the Caribbean Unit.
Moreover, Chris Hoornaert, EU Ambassador in Panama, and the President of the Foundation exchanged views on Panama’s role in the political dialogue within Latin America and the Caribbean and with the European Union. Both agreed on the strategic interest of the European Union in the subregion and more precisely in Panama, referring to the country’s interest in acting as a political hub in the region after the visit of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell to Panama in May. President Pajín stated that the EU-LAC Foundation seeks to further these initiatives considering today’s essential political momentum.