Jul. 27, 2015


Jean-Claude Juncker

Mexico

Jean-Claude Juncker

President, the European Commission

"Europe and Latin America share deep-rooted bonds."

BIO

Jean-Claude Juncker is the President of the European Commission and has been in politics since 1982, when he was first appointed Deputy Minister of Labor in Luxembourg at the age of 28. For almost 20 years he served as PM of Luxembourg, and from 2005 to 2013 was also President of the Eurogroup.

This year, Mexico and the EU celebrate the 15th anniversary of the signing of their Free Trade Agreement. What have been its main achievements?

The past 15 years have been highly beneficial for both of us under this agreement. In just 15 years we have tripled our trade value, reaching $65 billion in 2014. The EU is now Mexico's third largest trade partner after the US and China. If we talk of investment, nearly 40% of all FDI in Mexico derives from the EU. We are the second largest investor in Mexico after the US. In 2014, the amount of accumulated EU FDI in Mexico reached $145 billion. With all this, our economies have grown increasingly connected to one another. Yet, the main achievement of our partnership goes beyond trade. The Free Trade Agreement is a part of a wider Global Agreement covering political dialogue and cooperation. In that regard, these have been fruitful years. We have developed a relationship of trust and respect; we have grown closer. In particular, we have enhanced our cooperation on human rights, on drug trafficking, on education and lately also on climate change action, ahead of the COP21 in Paris next December. We have also established several lines of contact at the governmental, parliamentary and civil society levels, all of which help in fostering integration. Mexico and the EU are like-minded partners in the fullest sense.

What political and commercial areas should Mexico and the EU work on to boost international cooperation?

As we said at the EU-Mexico Summit recently, we still have scope to increase cooperation in several areas. In particular, we need to do more on research and development, on renewable energy and energy security, on international migration and on organized crime, including drug trafficking. Security is a priority for us all. And we have to cooperate more on this. When it comes to a bilateral agreement on Passenger Name Records (PNR) with Mexico, we are fully committed, and my Commission has sought a clear negotiating mandate from EU Member States. But we have to be aware that we will not be able to finalize it until the European Court of Justice gives its opinion on a similar agreement between the EU and Canada. This is an important part of our efforts to thwart security threats. We also commend Mexico for its decision to resume participation in UN peacekeeping operations in Haiti and in the Western Sahara. We are convinced that we can cooperate and make strides together in improving international security and that in this way we will be able to do more together in crisis management operations. Concerning trade and investment, once the process begins to modernize the trade pillar of our Global Agreement, the specificities will be left to the negotiating teams; yet there is no doubt that in this increasingly interconnected world—and with our economies increasingly interconnected too; we will aim for ambitious targets that are mutually beneficial. We want to go beyond current World Trade Organization levels, reducing non-tariffs barriers, while still ensuring the protection of our citizens. We have to address public procurement and investment protection and we will need to have a new chapter on intellectual property that includes commitments on geographical indications. And of course, we will have to ensure a model of sustainable development that protects workers and the environment.

"Europe and Latin America share deep-rooted bonds."

What will be the EU's approach towards the Latin American region in the coming years and what role will Mexico play in that regard?

We had the opportunity to discuss this thoroughly this month at the EU-CELAC Summit. Europe and Latin America share deep-rooted bonds. We share values, principles, and interests. We share many years of history, too. Our approach to Latin America will be that of a relationship between equals, where we can take advantage of mutual benefits at all levels and where both regions assume their responsibilities towards one another and towards the rest of the world. We want to focus on building a partnership for the next generation by building closer economic links and reinforcing political dialogue. We are already deeply engaged in the region. The EU is Latin America's second trade partner overall, after the US. We are also the biggest investor in the region. Our stock of foreign direct investment there is larger than our stocks in Russia, China, and India combined. And by the way, Mexico features very high in comparison to other Latin American countries in both cases. But we are interested in taking the next step. We want to strengthen our bonds and we think Mexico is the right partner to help us do this. Mexico plays an important role in our wish to step up cooperation and relations with Latin America. It can be one of our ports of entrance to an even more beneficial bi-regional relationship.

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