Irish President Michael D Higgins, says Ireland and Europe has a lot to learn from Latin America, in terms of economical development.

Higgins warned that countries in the EU were not going to finanically recover by simply adopting a “return to business as usual approach” the Irish Independent reports.

During an address to University of Diego Portales in Santiago in Chile on Thursday night, President Higgins said South America was offering a new economy model.

Speaking ahead of the ummit between the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in January, he said Europe needed to listen to Latin America.

“We cannot, I suggest, simply seek to return to business as usual, and revert to approaches that have failed our people with the consequences of such unacceptable levels of unemployment as affects more than half of our young people in several European countries,” Higgins said during the first day of his two week visit to South America.

“The reality is that the biggest single problem Europe has is unemployment and therefore it is the issue of adjusting your economic models and allowing for a plurality of economic models such as would impact on different ways on the unemployment problem as it manifests itself,” he added.

President Higgins is currently on his first official visit to South America where he is leading a trade delegation that also includes Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello.

Irish president Michael D HigginsRTE