Zapatero urges fairer income distribution in Latin America

Other News Materials 17 May 2008 02:54 (UTC +04:00)

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called upon Latin America on Friday to implement "fairer" income distribution policies, dpa reported.

Speaking at the European Union-Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-LAC) summit in Peru, Zapatero acknowledged that the fight against poverty - one of the main themes of the Lima summit along with climate change - has improved in Latin America in recent years.

Economic growth figures and "serious" economic policies have improved stability and legal security for investments, the Spanish prime minister said.

"But it is not enough," the centre-left Spanish leader told reporters.

"There has to be an income distribution policy that is fairer than the current one in Latin America, and a social policy of cooperation for development that tackles basic structural problems," said Zapatero. "Social spending is also productive spending, social investment generates wealth."

The head of the Spanish government - whose country is set to host the next EU-LAC summit in 2010 - took part in one of the debates at the summit and advocated a strong state, an efficient market and a participative society as the means to narrow the gap of inequality and exclusion within Latin America and the Caribbean.

Zapatero also stressed the role of regional integration to guarantee social cohesiveness.

He said he was willing to make extra efforts for the EU to reach free-trade and association agreements with Latin America, "particularly with Central America and the Andean Community of Nations," which are currently negotiating such deals with the European bloc.

The deals would "without doubt favour development" in those regions, Zapatero stressed.