A delegation from the European Parliament, headed by Spain’s Jaime Mayor Oreja, arrived in Bogota Thursday to discuss the Colombia-European Union (EU) free trade agreement (FTA) with President Alvaro Uribe and the leading presidential candidates, reports W Radio.
The focus of the visit will be to determine the ratification process of the FTA, which is scheduled to be signed in Madrid, Spain on May 18.
A member of the delegation said that Uribe had proposed the visit, to explain to the Europeans why it was necessary to pass the FTA “as soon as possible.”
The other purpose of the visit is for the delegates to meet with the key candidates aspiring to the Colombian presidency. The delegation is expected to meet with Partido de la U’s Juan Manuel Santos and the Green Party’s Antanas Mockus.
The FTA is not expected to be ratified before Uribe leaves office on August 7.
Colombia concluded FTA negotiations with the EU at the beginning of March, after nine rounds of talks.
Colombia began talks on a FTA with Panama in March.
The FTA between Colombia and the U.S. is signed but has not yet been ratified by U.S. Congress. The U.S. Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, said Wednesday that President Barack Obama “supports the rapid ratification” of the pending agreement.