International Experts Call for Peace in Yuste

The director-general for External Action of the Regional Government of Extremadura and president of Yuste Foundation’s Executive Committee, Rosa Balas Torres, called for multilateralism as a measure to face the issues and challenges facing the world today. She stated this at the opening of the course “The Challenge of Working Together: European Union-Latin America & the Caribbean Relations in the Face of Major Global Challenges”, which will be held until next Friday at the Monastery of Yuste. (20/07/2022)

Referring to the words of the former president of Costa Rica, Óscar Arias, when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987, “only peace can write new history”, the director-general of External Action of the Regional Government of Extremadura said that in her opinion, the world has been forced to define a new order and a new geopolitical map with the crisis we are experiencing as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “which has shown that this, together with the pandemic of the coronavirus, has pointed out that unilateralism is not valid and that we are all connected”, she pointed out.

Rosa Balas called for dialogue and analysis of the situation in order to undertake reforms and future projects and to do this “spaces for meeting, reflection and debate must be created. This is why, from Extremadura, the most American European region, we want to seek answers to how we can work together so as to face future challenges”.

Spain will preside over the Council of the European Union from July to December 2023, and this is why the president of Yuste Foundation’s Executive Committee offered the space and experience of this Foundation in order to host and organise activities because “Yuste is a place of European memory and a link between Europe and Latin America”. Finally, Balas Torres congratulated the Foundation on its thirtieth anniversary, “three decades committed to Europe and Latin America from a border Extremadura”.

The Secretary of State for Ibero-America and the Caribbean and Spanish in the World of the Spanish Government, Juan Fernández Trigo, affirmed that, in his opinion, we will be Euro-compatible “if Latin America aspires to have higher welfare standards, better tax systems and social protection systems, as well as greater regional integration in order to achieve better trade relations”. He also pointed out that another obstacle is the massive migration from Latin America to Spain, although he explained that “in order for our economic systems to work we need immigration, but it has to be an orderly one”.

During the opening session, the head of International Relations of the Ibero-American General Secretariat and trustee of Yuste Foundation, María Salvadora Ortíz, also spoke and claimed that this course responded to the intergenerational challenge that lies ahead, because it brings politicians, academics and experts together with young people, thus producing an “intergenerational dialogue”.

“The objective of this course is to contribute from the formation, reflection, debate and transfer of knowledge to the study and improvements of strategies that contribute to building a peaceful society, solidarity and equality, therefore, to the achievement of the SDGs”, the Foundation’s trustee summed up. In this sense, she recalled the words of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, in different forums that refer to the fact that the European Union must look more towards Ibero-America because it is the most Euro-compatible region on the planet as they are “two regions that are united by deep ties that face the same challenges posed by the current phase of globalisation and undoubtedly, together, have more and better possibilities to face them”.

Finally, Ortiz expressed her hope that this course will contribute to the search for solutions to strengthen states, institutions and public services, as well as bi-regional integration in the face of ecological and digital disruptions and other challenges.

The president of EU-LAC Foundation, Leire Pajín Iraola, also spoke at the opening session and expressed her desire that the union between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean be ever stronger because we can only emerge from this crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “if we are able to share information, strategy and cooperation”.

The vice-rector of University Extension of the University of Extremadura, Juan Carlos Iglesias Zoido, closed the opening session highlighting the importance of this course, because it delves into the challenges posed between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean. “This course covers the two souls of the Foundation and focuses on key issues, such as democratic governance or the challenges and opportunities in this era in which the exit from the pandemic brings a redefinition of the world order with almost no transition”.

In this context, Iglesias Zoido explained that the course can provide a channel for building a more just and common future between both regions. “We hope that solutions will be found that will enable us to make progress on key issues such as the strengthening of representative democracy and social dialogue, essential factors for achieving a harmonisation of both societies and reducing the enormous inequalities between the two worlds, especially in these moments with booms of populism that run the risk of the implementation of policies marked by selfishness and short-termism that go just in the opposite direction from what is going to be proposed here”.

The course was attended by the former president of Costa Rica, Óscar Arias Sánchez, for whom the European Union is, despite its defects, “a poignant example of the ability of peoples to overcome their misgivings and to harmonise the defence of their sovereignty with the pursuit of common objectives, under the same legal framework and public governance”.

Latin American integration is far from that reality, but in Arias’ opinion, in the international arena, Europe and Latin America can be voices that insist on diplomacy, on the political channelling of conflicts, in the search for equilibriums that accommodate new balances of power without necessarily reverting to weapons. “This is not candour: it is sanity: it is sanity and counterweight to military pressures”, he said.

Arias defended that Europe and Latin America can serve to contain tensions and he thus advocated for both regions to be “voices for peace and dialogue; in favour of pluralism and democracy; of sustainable development and social inclusion; of greater economic cooperation from rich nations to the poorest”.

Finally, he called for Europe to redouble its commitment to freedom and pluralism, “let it not desist from forging alliances with those in Latin America who still defend the basic premises of democratic coexistence”, he concluded.

This course, included in Yuste Foundation’s training programme Campus Yuste, and which is also part of the University of Extremadura’s International Summer Courses, counts with the sponsorship of MAFRESA and the collaboration of the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), Euroamérica Foundation, the Regional Government of Extremadura, National Heritage and the provincial councils of Cáceres and Badajoz.