SANTIAGO – Ambassadors of EU countries plus the ambassador of the bloc met with President Sebastián Piñera and Foreign Minister Teodoro Ribera. No results of the meeting were announced, so it apparently served to maintain high-level dialog. While the EU kept a description of the agenda general, the presidency’s press office highlighted Piñera’s push for broader free trade.
All 17 ambassadors of EU countries and Brussel’s highest representative to Chile, ambassador Stella Zervoudaki, met with Piñera and Ribera on Mar. 4. According to a press release from the EU Delegation in Chile, in government palace La Moneda the representatives discussed the administration’s responses to political, social, and economic challenges. Human rights and security were also on the agenda.
Other topics included the possibility of coordinated responses to regional and global problems. The participants also talked about an update to the free trade EU-Chile Association Agreement. All EU ambassadors “underlined the importance that Chile has for the EU, within the framework of a close and fruitful relationship.”
While the EU mentioned many topics but kept it general, La Moneda focused on trade. A press release from the presidency highlighted the advances Piñera made in updating the free trade agreement. The president discussed the “necessity to broaden the relationship, collaboration, and future opportunities” with the EU. In that sense, the government said, Piñera has recently advanced bilateral talks with the leaders of Germany, France, Spain, among others.
Such bilateral talks remain important, for although EU members cannot conduct trade talks or sign related agreements, they individually influence the negotiations at the EU level.
The government’s press release did not mention that human rights and security issues were also discussed at the meeting. Instead, it emphasized economic importance, as 2019 trade between Chile and the EU reached US$19 billion.
Christian is Managing Editor at Chile Today, where he curates the foreign policy blog Teatinos One/Eighty. Christian is also Lead Editor of E-International Relations, co-editor of an open access textbook on International Relations Theory and Director at the Chilean Association of International Specialists (ACHEI).