MEXICO CITY – The 24th meeting of the European Union-Mexico Joint Parliamentary Committee got under way on Tuesday with a commitment to forging common solutions to shared challenges.
The institution of the joint parliamentary committee was created on the basis of “mutual respect,” Spanish EU lawmaker Teresa Jimenez-Becerril said during the opening session.
Among the items on the agenda for this week’s gathering are human rights; gender equality and violence against women; ways to promote small and mid-sized firms; and sharing best practices in areas such as transportation and sustainable tourism.
Jimenez-Becerril, a member of Spain’s governing Popular Party who leads the EU contingent, noted the dangers faced by journalists and human rights advocates in Mexico and Europe’s struggle to achieve an effective migration policy and combat human trafficking.
Issues affecting both Mexico and the EU include women’s equality in the workplace and public life and the task of expanding opportunities for entrepreneurs, she said.
The session of the Joint Parliamentary Committee coincides with the start in Mexico City of a ninth round of talks on updating the Mexico-EU trade accord.
Early Tuesday, the Euro lawmakers received a briefing from the EU’s chief negotiator on the trade pact, Helen König, who said last month that she hoped to complete the renovation of the accord ahead of March 30, when the campaign for Mexico’s 2018 presidential election officially begins.
Jimenez-Becerril said that last year saw “considerable” progress in the negotiations, expressing confidence that both sides would muster the “extra effort” needed to overcome the remaining hurdles.
Mexican Sen. Miguel Lucia Espejo predicted success in the drive to adapt the accord to the world as it is now, while taking into account “sensitivities” regarding certain industries and products.
More broadly, he said that the Joint Parliamentary Committee has become an “efficient vehicle” for the exchange of ideas between Mexico and Europe.