The Director General of External Action of the Regional Government of Extremadura and President of the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation’s Executive Committee, Rosa Balas, opened the course “The Redefinition of the Social Contract in Latin American-European Union Relations: Current Responses to Global Challenges” this Wednesday. The course will be taking place until this Friday, at the Royal Monastery of Yuste.

This course is organised by the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation and the Carolina Foundation, in collaboration with the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) in the framework of the International Summer Courses of the University of Extremadura.

During her speech, Rosa Balas pointed out that this course “perfectly summarises Yuste Foundation’s spirit, as we are a European and an Ibero-American Foundation, with the added value of living in a cross-border area, due to our closeness to Portugal”.

She, furthermore, stated that the organisation of this session particularly, as well as in the programme of Campus Yuste in general, responds to the Sustainable Development Goal 17 related to partnerships and synergies, “a fundamental objective because it encourages networking”.

The President of the Executive Committee explained that from today until Friday, the subject of protectionism will be tackled as opposed to the steps taken in Europe and in some Latin American countries to sign Mercosur, or how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should be the great global agreement that includes everyone.

“SDGs should be the tool that may enable coherence in all public policies in our own territories as abroad”, she said, and she mentioned the need to coordinate development cooperation policies with businesses’ internationalization policies as an example. According to Balas, this is possible through coherence and cooperation between departments, highlighting “how developing an industrial policy defending the environment is possible and this defence is essential as far as the shared responsibility led by the youth is concerned”.

As to the subject of climate change, the Director General of External Action added that the fact that the non-compliance of some may affect those less favoured in society is inadmissible “and we should be blunt here, because this drama implies that there aren’t any life opportunities or hope in some parts of the world, thus causing migratory movements and this is why we should be co-responsible concerning this situation in order to try to relieve it”.

In this sense, she pointed out that we should also share responsibility concerning the social contract in the field of future workers and digitalisation, in order to avoid possible gaps that may occur, since “the best jobs will probably be found in this field and we should be ready to fight against the gaps between states, countries, urban and rural territories, and those concerning genre and work spaces”.

The politician, director of the course and member of the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste, Ramón Jáuregui, also spoke during the opening of the course and defined the course as an “unfinished equation”, because, in his opinion, a series of circumstances are occurring that cause an impact between Latin America and Europe.

“These circumstances –he claimed- deal with the social contract, which shows the transformation undergone by the relations between citizenship and the public sphere”. According to Jáuregui, there is an increasingly “rushingly changed world; a world that is moving towards Asia from a productive point of view; a world of technological transformation; uncertainty; a bizarre world, created by the new North American administration, of trade protectionism and isolationism in relation to integration processes and of rupture from multilateralism “.

The director of the course believes that all these changes are affecting this unfinished equation between Latin America and the European Union. In the like manner, Ramón Jáuregui pointed out that “much social discontent is occurring, such as depopulation and the technological revolution, which cause a new imbalance”.

Jáuregui stated that the main aim of the course is to link Europe’s equation to Latin America in the current context of changes in the world; analyse how citizenship, in its relation with the public sphere, is also undergoing transformations that it is unable to fight against, and he finally called for analysing Latin American and European societies in this context of changes, always from the perspective that the relation between Europe and Latin America “is an equation that needs to strengthen its convergences and its common interests”.

The Director of the Carolina Foundation, José Antonio Sanahuja, stated that this course includes the dual purpose of the Foundation he directs, “training and joint reflection in the Ibero-American field, as well as the study of Spain and the European Union’s exterior action in the Ibero-American field”.

He, furthermore, expressed his satisfaction to be linked to the Regional Government of Extremadura through Yuste Foundation, as they signed a framework agreement in order to work together to carry out activities.

The Director of External Relations of the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), María Salvadora Ortíz, was confident that the conclusions of the course could give us some clues to make progress in a “new type of social pact, in accordance with the transformations that have occurred in recent times, thus reaching a more equitable and sustainable society”.

Finally, the Vice-rector of University Extension of the University of Extremadura, Juan Carlos Iglesias Zoido, defended the realisation of the international summer courses, because they offer an “encounter between the university and society”. He claimed, in particular about this course, that it will contribute to redefine the social contract for the “construction of a fairer society”.