From Monday 11 to Wednesday 13 November 2019, the Head of the EU Delegation to Uruguay, Ambassador Karl-Otto König, and a group of EU Member States ambassadors visited the Departments of Rocha and Treinta y Tres to strengthen EU ties with both Departments, learn first hand about the local socio-economic reality, and outline the objectives and activities of the EU and its Member States in Uruguay. In both Departments, the ambassadors met with the local Governors and their government teams, in order to improve mutual understanding and discover the challenges and opportunities each Department faces.
The ambassadors' visit began on Monday 11, with a stop along the way in the Department of Maldonado to visit the José Ignacio winery, with a guided tour of the olive oil and wine plants followed by a tasting of olive oils and wines produced by the firm.
On Tuesday 12 the ambassadors visited Rocha, where they were received by Governor Aníbal Pereyra and his team (including Secretary General Gabriel Tinaglini, Education and Culture Director Flora Veró, Production and Development Director Pablo Barrios, and Tourism Director Ana Caram) at the María Elida Marquizo Cultural Center, where a press conference was held to inform the local media of the most relevant aspects of the relationship between the EU and Uruguay, with special emphasis on Rocha.
The European ambassadors then had lunch with the Governor and a group of prominent Rocha businessmen to learn about the local private sector.
Then they toured the University of the Republic's Eastern Regional University Center, where they were received by regional director Joaquín Marqués, the director of the local campus Javier Vitancurt, and a group of professors from different areas. There the academics presented various current local issues, about which the ambassadors asked numerous questions, covering research, equipment, financing, students, the University's influence in the Department, biodiversity, pollution of beaches, and macroalgae, among others.
Later they visited the Protected Area of the Rocha Lagoon, to learn of the gastronomic venture of a group of local women self-named the Ladies of the Lake. They also spoke with the Director of the National System of the Protected Area of the Rocha Lagoon, Héctor Caymaris, who informed them of the efforts to protect the lake and its environment.
On Wednesday the 13 the European ambassadors visited Treinta y Tres, first touring the Arrozur rice plant at Villa Sara, dedicated to processing rice to produce a variety of edible types of rice, rice oil and other sub-products, as well as electric power from bio-mass. Plant Manager Jorge Martínez, and Logistics & Quality Manager Alejandro López accompanied them on the tour.
They were then received by the General Secretary of local government, Fernando Cuello, and the General Director of Economic Development, Luis Pereira, at the tourist undertaking La Casa de Juan, where Manager María Laura Elso and her team offered the visitors a delicious lunch.
After that they met the entire local government team and a group of prominent businessmen at the Treinta y Tres House of Culture.
After the meeting, Ambassador König informed the local media of the most relevant points discussed during the meeting.
Finally, the group visited the National Agricultural Research Institute (INIA), where they were received by INIA National Director Fabio Montossi, Regional Director Walter Ayala and the Director of the National Rice Production Research Programme José Terra, who explained what the Institute does and its local scope.