By Jorge Gil Angel |
Bogotá (EFE).- The executive vice president of the European Commission for the Green Pact, Frans Timmermans, believes that sustainable production in the Amazon should be stimulated to combat deforestation instead of proposing to stop importing Colombian and Brazilian manufactured products in that region.
“It is very easy to say that we do not import anything else from Brazil and Colombia if it comes from the Amazon region, it is nonsense. What we must do is stimulate sustainable production, help farmers and other producers to do it in a sustainable way”, says Timmermans in an interview with EFE in Bogotá.
The senior European official is visiting Brazil and Colombia to prepare for the COP28 climate summit to be held at the end of the year in Dubai and one of the main issues he has discussed with the authorities of both countries is deforestation.
In this sense, he points out that criminals involved in illegal deforestation, gold extraction and other “very dangerous activities” must be fought.
“We must also fight the people who buy the products of these criminals, people who very often live in Europe,” he adds.
I work with Petro and Lula
In 2022, Colombia elected Petro as president and Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, two leftist leaders who advocate the protection of the Amazon and whose government programs give considerable importance to the fight against the climate crisis.
Timmermans considers that the governments of Colombia and Brazil “know perfectly well that if the climate crisis is to be successfully addressed, the issue of social justice must also be addressed”, as well as “the alternatives of a fair transition towards a new economy” that in the case of the Andean country must include the creation of peace.
«I think this gives us a great opportunity to work together in preparation for COP28, bring Europe and Colombia together with the same agenda because we all understand that if you want to make this transition happen it must be done with the people (…) especially with those in the most vulnerable positions,” he explains.
Investment and political agenda
In order to work with Brazil and Colombia, the executive vice president of the European Commission for the Green Pact affirms that it must be ensured that these countries have a greater potential for investment in issues such as transition, environmental protection and the fight against climate change.
“We need to create the best conditions for private investment from Europe and elsewhere to come to Colombia and Brazil to be part of this transition. We also need to make sure that we do enough in terms of technology transfer so that the technologies needed for the new economy that is coming are also available in Colombia and in Brazil”, he explains.
Finally, the senior official believes that the “political agendas” of both the community bloc and these nations should be clear to “shorten the distance between Europe and Latin America because we need each other and I hope we can be very successful on this issue.”
peace and environment
President Petro has defended a policy of “total peace” to which he intends to link various armed groups operating in the country to start negotiations, an ambitious proposal that, according to Timmermans, must be combined with “new economic opportunities, the fight against poverty and the fight for the environment and against climate change.
He also values what Colombia has done by implementing the peace agreement signed by the Government and the FARC guerrillas in 2016, as he believes that the inhabitants of the Andean country should feel proud of what they have achieved in the last five years.
«I don’t know if we Europeans will be able to do that, (the peace agreement) is a testament to the courage of the Colombian people to leave the past behind, not just like that, because you also need truth and reconciliation. But what I have seen in the last five years fills me with hope that the final steps can be taken,” he concluded.