Spain backs EU-style union of Latin American states

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Spain's prime minister said Monday he fully supports the idea of a union of Latin American states along the lines of the European Union.

"I would wholeheatedly support a Latin American union," Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero following a summit of the EU and the Caribbean nations belonging to the Cariforum organisation.

The summit is part of a wider EU-Latin America summit, which has been broken up according to regional groupings, such as Mercosur, composed of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, and the Andean Community of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, as well as Cariforum.

"There are different regional processes, but a (Latin American) union would be a great project, an historic project," Zapatero said.

"There is a basis for it: a cultural and linguistic union, a social union, a geographic unity and a political commitment for democracy."

The president of the European Commission, Portugal's Jose Manuel Barroso, also backed the idea.

"Our heart is in the idea of regional integration," he said.

But EU president Herman Van Rompuy was more cautious, saying that the EU "has no lessons to give" to Latin American countries.

© 2010 AFP

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