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Jutta Urpilainen, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships: “BELLA is the digital highway that connects Europe and Latin America”

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During the European Development Days’ session for “The Global Gateway in Latin America and the Caribbean”, held in the evening of June 22, 2022, in Brussels, the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships highlighted the importance of BELLA for the future of collaboration between EU, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Organised by the European Commission, the European Development Days (EDD) bring the development community together each year to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. EDD2022 was carried out in Brussels during June 21st and 22nd, 2022, and BELLA had a stand in the Global Village, where the RedCLARA team explained the event’s participants what the BELLA Programme has carried out and the future plans for a second phase of BELLA centred in connecting more Latin American and Central American and Caribbean countries.

In her opening words at “The Global Gateway in Latin America and the Caribbean” session, EU Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen refer to BELLA in terms that made the RedCLARA team present in the session’s room, felt extremely proud for the work that has been carried out and hopeful for the work that we hope to be able to do in BELLA II. The following is an extract of Commissioner Urpilainen speech (you can also watch the video at: https://youtu.be/Ygnk_4RjijA?t=440):  

“In a team Europe approach, we aim to promote the potential of Latin America and the Caribbean as a green superpower. We are also working to support the region's health manufacturing for better human development. We will harness the full power of digital to support this green transition across the continent and this includes by building on successful programs such as BELLA.

“BELLA is the digital highway that connects Europe and Latin America with a direct 34,000 kilometres long optic fibre cable between the two continents; and I was really honoured to launch the Ecuadorian section of BELLA last week.

“BELLA connects millions of users, fostering data economy, and facilitates collaboration between universities researchers and companies in areas such as particle physics, e-Health or high-performance computing. With direct quick and secure access to large volumes of Copernicus data, emergency workers in the region will be able to better respond to and prepare for emergencies. And I was able to witness this work in Panama. So, we believe in the need to foster innovation.

“In December I was honoured to launch the digital for development hub for Latin America and the Caribbean together with ECLAC and nine EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries through multi-stakeholder collaboration. We will promote a human-centric inclusive and sustainable model of digital transformation.

“So, looking ahead, we are working as team Europe to prepare the ground for a landmark EU, Latin America, Caribbean engagement in the second half of the 2023. Under the Spanish presidency I have to say that I personally look forward very much to listening to our friends and partners from the region and I hope that we can have a fruitful discussion”.