(Dec. 30, 2009) The European Commission and the Organization of American States (OAS) have been cooperating in several areas of common interest and mutual benefit for the last 20 years. The former European Community was given the status of a permanent observer at the OAS in 1989. (List of Permanent Observers to the OAS, http://www.towson.edu/polsci/oas/Member2.htm#LIST%20OF%20PERMANENT%20OBS
ERVERS (last visited Dec. 30, 2009).) On December 17, 2009, the European Commission and the General Secretariat of the OAS signed an MOU to further develop communication in common areas of concern related to the American and Caribbean regions.
The two parties established the following areas as priorities of cooperation within the ambit of the MOU: a) protection and promotion of human rights; b) integral development in the fields of education, environment, trade, taxation, employment, and the elimination of poverty; c) strengthening democracy and the rule of law; and d) increased cooperation in other important issues, such as drugs, money laundering, and organized crime.
In order to achieve their objectives, the two parties expressed their commitment to develop formal and regular bilateral meetings to discuss the common areas of concern and to exchange information, experience, and best practices. (EU-Organization of the American States Sign Memorandum of Understanding, Delegation of the European Union to the United States website, http://www.eurunion.org/eu (last visited Dec. 23, 2009) [with link to full text of the MOU].)