The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini met on Thursday in Bogota with the President of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez.
During the meeting, they discussed the progress achieved in EU-Colombia relations in the last five years and perspectives for further strengthening their partnership, including through a new political framework.
They also addressed the political as well as migratory situation in Venezuela and in the region. High Representative Mogherini expressed her high appreciation of Colombia's hospitality and solidarity in hosting by far the largest number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the region, and assured President Duque of the EU's support. Just yesterday, the European Union announced an additional €30 million to support Venezuelan refugees and host communities in countries most affected by the crisis, including in Colombia.
High Representative Mogherini and President Duque further spoke about the state of implementation of the peace process in Colombia, including the situation of human rights defenders and social leaders. The High Representative assured the President of the EU's unwavering commitment to the peace process, rejecting the announcement by a small group of FARC dissidents to take up arms again.
They also discussed the international response to the Amazon fires and the outcome of the recent Leticia Summit convened by Colombia.
With a view to trade and investment relations, the High Representative highlighted the visible benefits of the Free Trade Agreement for both sides, contributing to the diversification of the Colombian economy and increasing Colombia's agricultural exports to the EU by 45% since its entry into force.
During her visit to Colombia, High Representative Mogherini visited together with Colombia's Minister for Culture Carmen Inés Vásquez Camacho a vocational school – Escuela Taller – where she spoke with young people fromsocially vulnerable populations, who are nowreceiving vocational training.
She furthermore met with representatives from civil society and human rights defenders to discuss their concerns. The High Representative reconfirmed the EU's commitment and recalled the important EU actions in support of human rights defenders and social leaders.
High Representative Mogherini's visit concluded with a meeting with the two Presidents and the Director-General of Colombia's transitional justice system, which was established under the 2016 peace agreement: The Truth Commission together with the Special Jurisdiction for Peace – the Peace Court – and the Missing Persons Search Unit. Colombia's transitional justice system is a cornerstone of the peace process and a model that could be relevant in other parts of the world. In addition to the EU's support to the Search Unit worth €3.2 million, the High Representative announced a new project of € 4.5 million in support of the Truth Commission, while support to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace is under preparation.