Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is in Latin America this week to reinforce the EU’s relations with its two strategic partners in the region, Brazil and Mexico.
During her five-day visit, Ashton is meeting the Presidents and Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries to push cooperation in global affairs. Aside from the official meetings, she is also expected to visit a social project in Rio de Janeiro, attend an award ceremony in Mexico and address the civil society in both countries.
With the EU-Brazil summit taking place later this year, foreign affairs issues like Syria and Iran, are high on the agenda. Climate change and sustainable development are also expected to be important subjects of discussion with Rio+20, United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, being held in Brazil in June. Moreover, progress towards drafting an ambitious free trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur will be examined. In Mexico, Ashton will also discuss global challenges, which are of special relevance now as the country currently holds the Presidency of the G20 and will thus chair the Leader’s Summit in June.
Ahead of her visit, Ashton has stated that the EU is “committed to strengthening the strategic partnership with both countries” but she acknowledged at the same time that there is a “need to find even more ambitious ways of working together”.