12 December 2013
Category : Opinion
"As we were saying yesterday". Returning to Guatemala evokes the words of Fray Luis de León, the poet from Granada, to his students upon returning from five years in prison. Evidently this allusion is more of a personal evocation than a palpable reality in a country that is changing.
The presence of EUROsociAL in Guatemala coincides with an interesting investigation regarding Spanish cooperation in development. Guatemala was precisely one of the countries covered in the study.
Starting with the idea that a budget cut is not the best news for cooperation and, moreover, that significant changes are not promoted solely through cooperation, it’s important to remember that the new model demanded by countries, especially in terms of European-Latin America relations, values quality over quantity. “We don’t talk about donor and recipient countries anymore but rather of cooperating to develop global public assets for common benefit” (Without cooperation, a country adrift.By Rafael Vilasanjuan, on the ISGlobal blog). We picked up this feeling from the recent activity of EUROsociAL in Guatemala, where the workshop on European and Latin American economic and social councils followed this cooperation format.
The President of Guatemala himself, Otto Pérez-Molina, who opened this consensus-building workshop, alluded to sharing objectives: “we have had the opportunity to share our views with the European Union, because the concern is to see what priorities exist in the country and how the cooperation of the EU or the EUROsociAL Programme can support and strengthen what we are working on”; Spanish Ambassador, Manuel Lejarreta, spoke of “alignment with the policies of the Government”; and the European Union Ambassador to Guatemala, Stella Zervoudaki,along these lines, referred to the “exchange between institutions that share the same reality in Europe and Latin America”.
Guatemala is a country of contrasts, and a country of conflict, admitted its President, who, in turn, opened the door to dialogue for social construction in which all sectors of the country participate. They have signed the Firm and Lasting Peace agreement and now it is time to make social peace through dialogue. EUROsociAL is contributing to that peace based on the three key ideas noted above by these three important players. With the support of the European Commission, in alignment with the policies of the Government and from an exchange of experiences, FIIAPP and the Spanish Economic and Social Council are accompanying the CES of Guatemala as they cement a social dialogue that will lay the groundwork for the governability of the country. A horizontal, triangular cooperation that also has a high South-South component.
Enrique Martínez. Comunication Responsable of EUROsociAL
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