Margrethe Vestager: The European Union and Chile strengthen their digital alliance | The USA Print

Margrethe Vestager, vice president of the European Commission for the digital and competition area, this Saturday in Chile.AILEN DIAZ AILEN DIAZ (EFE)

The Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager, has just finished a three-day visit to Chile. She has done it three months after the modernization and expansion of the Advanced Framework Agreement between Chile and the European Union (EU) was finalized on December 9, 2022, a milestone for the relationship between the South American country and Brussels. On his tour, which started on Saturday and lasted until Monday, Vestager – head of Competition and State Aid for the community – met with Gabriel Boric’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alberto van Klaveren, traveled to the north of the country to visit an astronomical observatory and presented the Copernicus Regional Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (CRC-LAC Chile), the largest Earth observation program in the world.

“We believe that the strengthening of the center will have a very relevant impact in Chile and the region,” Vestager assured in Chile ahead of its launch in Bogotá, Colombia, on March 14, to extend its monitoring services to the entire region. “The data provided by Copernicus can be used for concrete applications that can have great commercial and social value. For example, for the real-time management of coastal, mining and agricultural resources, as well as to prevent or manage the risks associated with climate change and natural disasters, as was the case recently in the management of fires in Chile. This is a clear example of how our digital alliance can contribute to addressing the challenges shared between the European Union and Chile”, said the Dane about the program developed by the Center for Mathematical Modeling of the University of Chile.

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The CRC-LAC Chile seeks to establish a robust data storage and distribution center in situ, which includes the processing of Earth observation data. Recently, the program delivered images of the devastating forest fires that affected southern Chile last February, a fact that Vestarger recalled at a press conference with foreign correspondents this Monday.

Margrethe Vestager’s busy schedule in Chile included a trip to the Chilean north, specifically to Calama, more than 1,200 kilometers from Santiago. There she visited Chuquicamata, the largest open pit copper mine, which belongs to the state copper company Codelco and uses European technology. “We want to deepen our cooperation in the mining sector, identifying concrete actions of mutual interest, adding value through technology and ensuring rigorous respect for the environment,” she said on Sunday during her visit. She was also at Albemarle, a firm with lithium assets in the Atacama salt flat.

On his trip to Chile, the vice-presidency of the European Community also visited ALMA, the largest telescope in the world, just when it celebrates 10 years of operation.

The appointment with the new chancellor

One of Vestager’s latest activities in Chile was to hold bilateral meetings with members of President Gabriel Boric’s Cabinet: with the Minister of Economy, Nicolás Grau, and with the Secretary of the Presidency Ana Lya Uriarte, with whom he addressed digital transformation challenges. “Her work of hers inspires us to continue advancing in this matter,” said Uriarte, a socialist who handles relations with Parliament.

Vestager met with Foreign Minister Alberto Van Klaveren, with whom he discussed the next steps in the process of signing the Advanced Framework Agreement and the CELAC-EU Summit of Heads of State and Government, to be held in Brussels next July.

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The appointment has been one of the first activities of Van Klaveren, who took office on Friday, March 10, replacing Antonia Urrejola, after Boric’s change of Cabinet. The two new undersecretaries of the portfolio also attended: Gloria de la Fuente, of Foreign Relations, and Claudia Sanhueza, of International Economic Relations.

The Advanced Framework Agreement between Chile and the European Union, one of the great milestones that has marked Vestager’s trip to Chile, opens the door for almost 100% of European exports to reach the South American country free of tariffs. Meanwhile, it will give the European Union (EU) greater access to raw materials in the ecological and digital transition, such as copper and lithium, in which Chile is a large producer.

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