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First of all, let me say how pleased I am that we decided to start our Ministerial Meeting with this. We have a very busy international agenda - turbulent times, busy times - and yet we have Ministers from the 28 Member States of the European Union and 33 Ministers from the Latin American and Caribbean countries here in Brussels, and we start our 24 hours of work with this.
I believe this is highly symbolic. It means that at the centre of our work is our people, our citizens and the work and the initiatives that our citizens think of and put in place. The work we are doing is all aimed at supporting this. We want to support and sponsor these initiatives, because there is no better way to promote some features of our cooperation than by supporting civil society.
Civil society can do things that institutions cannot do and can do them in a different manner than institutions. I have always believed in the need for institutions to accompany the work of civil society, without substituting it, ever.
I want to say one last thing about the need, especially in our times, to support the exercise of telling positive stories. We are living difficult times where, not only we have the challenge of fake news, but also where we have the challenge of having media that are very much focused on negative news, even when they are real.
I think that the exercise of telling the positive stories - stories of cooperation, stories of living together, success stories - is in itself not only a good way of doing journalism, it is also a contribution to our democracies and our living together.
For this, I believe that the support we give to these voices today is particularly important, and for me, it is really an honour and a reason of pride to be able to be here together with my good friend, the Minister [Carlos Castaneda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of El Salvador] and the President [Leonel Fernandez, President of the EU-LAC Foundation] to start our EU Latin American Caribbean days with this ceremony.
Thank you very much.
Link to the video: https://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I158928