The European Union and Mexico have begun their first security dialogue, which among other things will look at the ways the EU can help with a drug war that has killed thousands of people in recent years.
Over two days, officials are examining how to boost cooperation between Mexico’s public security and law enforcement authorities and the EU’s own police, justice and border agencies.
The head of the EU-Mexico Joint Parliamentary Committee Ricardo Cortés Lastra says the EU has a drug debt to pay back.
He says the European Union, and the United States, are jointly responsible, as two places where drug consumption is very high.
Drug related violence in Mexico has claimed some 40,000 lives since 2006, when Felipe Calderon became President.
He chose a ‘war strategy’ to fight the drug cartels.
He deployed the army, but the killings and kidnappings have gone on. The government’s methods are also under scrutiny.
Alejandro Poiré, Mexico’s National Security spokesman, says the authorities are acting against criminals in a democratic way, as local authorities have requested, with great respect for human rights, and handing out punishment for any rights violations.
Rights groups say the strategy is not working and that now’s the time to change it, but the government hopes that its efforts to cut poverty will help, by keeping young people out of the drug gangs.