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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves addressing the EU-CELAC Summit in Brussels on Monday, July 17, 2023.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves addressing the EU-CELAC Summit in Brussels on Monday, July 17, 2023.
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BRUSSELS (CMC) — The European Union and the Community of States of Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-CELAC) began a summit here on Monday with St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves calling for a new world order and warning “we are in a fight for our very lives, for decent livelihoods and for production, grounded in equity, and sustainability”.

Gonsalves, who is also the CELAC pro tempore president, told the opening ceremony that the summit, the first to be held in the past eight years, provides an opportunity for truly making a difference for all the people of Europe and the region “if we are genuinely committed to act respectfully and honestly, through an uplift in multilateralism in accord with the fundamental precepts of international law, and in pursuance of the requisites of peace, prosperity, sustainable development, and security”.

He said that the 60 member countries of the European Union and CELAC is almost one-third of the United Nations membership comprising an estimated 1.25 billion people, or roughly 16% of the world’s population.

He said the two regions possess 20% of the world gross domestic product (GDP) and that he genuinely believes that the EU and CELAC “have the potential jointly to engender an efficacious and constructive multipolarity for a better world.

“We are assembling at a time of terrifying global turmoil of war and discord. A broken and unworkable financial architecture and the awesome contemporary challenges of an existential kind, particularly those relating to climate change, pandemics, poverty, food insecurity, citizens, security, inequity between and within nations injustices galore, inclusive of those with historical legacies, lodged in native genocide and the enslavement of African bodies, and the debilitating downsides, the misuse and abuse of aspects of technological innovations.”

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But Gonsalves, one of the longest serving heads of government in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping, said together in concert with other nations, “we can devise and implement solutions for a better world for all humanity, not only for a privileged minority in a few nations.

“But for us to succeed we must put an end to the wholly unacceptable notion that the strong with impunity, do what they can, and the weak suffer ignominiously what they must,” he said, noting as “an historical fact,” Europe remade in Latin America and the Caribbean, and in the process, remade itself.

“Out of this cauldron of remaking most of Europe was and still is, overwhelmingly, the lopsided beneficiary in a relationship in which our Latin America and our Caribbean have been and are only equally yoked…”

He said it was necessary to acknowledge this and accordingly advance sustainable correctives on several fronts “in a mutually beneficial manner, but with a special consideration for those among us who historically have been and are disadvantage, elemental justice and enlightened self-interest, so dictate”.

Gonsalves said that hopefully the summit, will arrive at a mutually satisfactory conclusions on a bundle of compelling issues touching and concerning, among other things, inclusive, sustainable development; hunger and food security; a meaningful reform of the global financial architecture in accord with the central thrust of the Bridgetown Initiative; renewable energy; ramped up ambitions and actions on climate change mitigation and adaptation; tangible delivery on commitments to climate financing loss and damage funding for vulnerable countries; and, public health and pandemics.

He said he was also hoping for it to deal with education science and technology; the frontiers and resources of space and the deep seabed; marine transport the digital transition; reparatory justice for native genocide and the enslavement of African bodies; the cessation of unilateral coercive economic sanctions against some select member countries; the unjust and counterproductive weaponising of the banking and financial systems; the unlawful interference and intervention in the internal affairs of countries; the quest for peace and security; and, the promotion of international law.

“To be sure, these central issues are more likely to generate differences of views and even controversies. But it is not beyond us collectively, to arrive at satisfactory outcomes on most if not all of them.”

Gonsalves said that it is clearly in each country’s respective interests to do so, adding “our respective peoples expect us to work maturely and constructively to make a difference for the better.

“To share the experiences of our peoples in the European, Latin American and Caribbean civilisations must be translated into shared expressions, inclusive of institutional expressions for ongoing dialogue and the resolution of thorny difficulties in mutual respect without any preconditions.

“Underpinning all of this are the necessary and desirable engagements, relationships and interconnections between our respective peoples private sector entities and civil society in all spheres of activities.”

Gonsalves said while he fully understood that member states of the European Union have an understandable preoccupation with the situation in Ukraine, “this summit ought not to become another unhelpful battleground for discourses on this matter, which has been and continues to be addressed in other more relevant for a.

“Mature diplomacy is what is required between the contending parties to effect the resolution which, if not entirely satisfactory to each party, is at least a conclusion of mutually agreed dissatisfaction.”

Gonsalves said that the war continues to consume abundant treasure and to cause the shedding of unnecessary blood and the global economy bleeds unnecessarily too as the war and fighting, bring enormous additional pain and suffering to the poor in distant lands through raising prices of food, oil and borrowings.

“So let there be constructive peace talks, not unproductive posturing in question of hegemony, or imperial domination. Of course, Ukraine is not the only theatre of war or armed conflict, which ravages people and destroy lives and livelihoods beyond the immediacy of the hazardous battlegrounds.”

Gonsalves said that the people of Haiti, the Palestinians and in the various parts of Africa, the Middle East and Israel “also demand peaceful resolutions” and “have more immediate challenges.

“And to the extent that they consider Ukraine at all, they wonder at the disproportionate global emphasis accorded it. And thus, they raise hauntingly, unanswerable queries arising from a lopsided world, awash with ghosts from the past, which are yet to be exorcised from the minds of those who have dominated the world’s political economy since the 18th century.

“Nevertheless, what happens in Ukraine is of enduring significance. Not only to the engaged combatants, but to all humanity. Thus, the reasonable demand for a cessation of hostilities and a negotiated peace. The fever of history and the burdens of these dangerous contemporary times, have inevitably and dialectically unleash the parallelogram of contradictory forces, jostling for alterations in the political economy of nations, regions and the world.”

Gonsalves told the summit that some of these forces “are reactionary and backward in that they look forward with futility to a past that never was, with their illusory future very much behind them.

“Such forces have gained substantial ground in the citadels of globalised capitalism and a frightened liberalism, including liberal imperialism to the core, which in turn has expanded dangerously, to the forces of revangist backwardness.

“Fortunately, in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, the Pacific and in North America and Europe, progressive voices have emerged and are coalescing in solidarity for constructive change, for meaningful alterations in the extant dominant global political economy and its anti-developmental financial architecture.

“The EU CELAC summit heralds an opportunity to create enhanced possibilities for humanity at this approaching midnight hour of humanity’s peril. We must seize this historic opportunity beyond the immediate, necessary and desirable outcomes of this engagement between our two geographic regions.

“I am satisfied that the history of the joinder between our respective civilisations have made compromises of all of us. But this does not mean that we must be compromising of the ideals we hold dear or the requisites of altering our contemporary condition for the better,” Gonsalves added.

One reply on “Gonsalves urges EU-CELAC summit to rethink existing world order”

  1. Nathan J Green says:

    I just hope the world leaders realize just how dangerous this man is because he has destroyed the sociality of 50% of SVG and has friends such as Cuba and the communist party, Venezuela and Madura, Putin, and all the nasty left wing and Marxist monsters in the world. Under this mans rule Vincentians have taken a step backwards to what he describes them as peasants.

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