Romanian president Traian Basescu, who attended the CELAC – EU summit in Chile last week, together with 62 other state leaders from the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean, commented on the Chilean tenacity upon retuning home and seems to have had little contact with other EU officials during the public part of the summit. He met the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, with whom he discussed the negotiations for the February 7 – 8 European Council on the common agricultural policy- CAP. The president however also paid a visit to Peru – the second such visit after 1973- and met his Peruvian counterpart, Ollanta Moises Humala Tasso, as well as the President of Peruvian Congress, Victor Isla Rojas, and the Mayor of Lima, Susana Villaran de la Puente.
Some of the Romanian media suggested that there was a little frostiness between the Romanian president and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the summit, saying Basescu was avoided by some of the heads of states with whom he usually speaks at these summits. However, the summit discussions were not public, and the media allegations are based on the little footage from the public part of meeting. The Romanian president shared the official picture with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, Chilean president Sebastian Pinera, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto and even Cuban leader Raul Castro, who was for the first time among the most important EU leaders.
The discussions behind closed doors focused mainly on stimulating trade and investments, as well as various liberalization agreements. Trade between the EU and the CELAC countries – Community of Latin American and Caribbean States – was valued at some EUR 202 billion lats year, which is 6.3 percent of the entire EU trade, and 13 percent of Latin America’s trade.
Romania’s exports to Latin American countries was up 45 percent in the first ten months of 2012, with a total trade between the two countries at USD 1.3 billion during this period. One of the major projects coming from the Romanian side is the planned Astra Arad factory in Brazil for freight and passenger train wagons, as well as tram wagons.
While in Santiago de Chile, the Romanian president also had a private schedule, which include a visit to the San Cristobal peak to see the Imaculada Conception monument, a visit to the old cathedral Plaza de Armas, and the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s former home, which is now a museum.
(photo source: presidency.ro)