European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean: joining forces for a Common Future

Federica Mogherini has announced the joint communication to the European Parliament and the Council about EU-ALC relations, highlighting the importance of the fight against inequality and the role of programs such as EUROsociAL+

The EU is setting out a vision for renewed political partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean. The 'Joint Communication' comes 10 years after the last major EU strategy for the region. It comes at a difficult time of crisis in Venezuela, where the EU is actively seeking a peaceful and democratic way forward through an international contact group. It comes at a difficult time of crisis in Venezuela, where the EU is actively seeking a peaceful and democratic way forward through an international contact group.

United by history and guided by many shared values, the European Union (EU) and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have a successful and long-standing partnership.

Against this backdrop, Federica Mogherini is keen to recall the bigger picture. "Latin America and the Caribbean are close and important partners for the EU", she says. "Though far apart geographically, we are closer than any other continents; today we are closer than ever".

Social cohesion is put under constant stress in a context marked by globalisation, social inequality, rapid urbanisation, climate change, environmental degradation, recurring and intensifying disasters, migratory flows and forced displacement.

Looking to the next five years, the EU aims at achieving more strategic political engagement, pursuing a responsible trade and investment agenda, and ensuing maximum impact from its cooperation with the countries of the region. Together these represent a new balance in the EU's relations with Latin America and the Caribbean based on a partnership of equals.

Both regions should enhance cooperation on fair and effective tax systems and social protection as essential instruments to foster inclusive economic growth and tackle inequality. This would build on the emerging cooperation on good fiscal governance, where there is a high level of commitment to address tax fraud, evasion and avoidance.

20 years after leaders from both continents met at Rio de Janeiro in June 1999, efforts continue to build a fully regional partnership based on common commitments and values. At the same time, the EU makes clear its willingness to step up its engagement with sub-regional groupings and with countries ready to go further. The EU proposes to do this through four partnerships: for prosperity, democracy, resilience and effective global governance.

Through programmes like EuroSOCIAL, both sides could exchange experiences on taxation, redistributive policies and the delivery of social services, including by benefitting from innovative measures in LAC on digitalisation of the tax compliance process. The bi-regional dialogue on social cohesion should be activated.

The EU's intention is to complete its network of Association and Trade Agreements, in particular those with Chile, Mexico, Mercosur and the Caribbean (in the context of negotiations with the ACP group), and to complete ratification of the EU-Central America Association Agreement and the EU-Colombia/Ecuador/Peru Trade Agreement.

Throughout this reinvigorated strategic partnership the EU wants to emphasise the importance of engaging seriously with a group of 33 countries, which in the past 10 years have more than doubled their investment in the EU. Taken together they constitute the EU's fourth largest trade partner.

Latin America and the Caribbean are essential partners for the EU in multilateral forums. Without their support, the EU would be unable to achieve important goals in areas like climate change, sustainable development, peace, security and human rights. Together we represent a third of UN membership, making us vital partners for a rules-based multilateral order.

Cultural cooperation can help make the EU-LAC shared cultural diversity and rich heritage a resource for human development and economic growth. The EU proposes a people-to-people cultural policy approach targeting cultural operators and promoting partnerships, co-productions and exchanges around three pillars: (i) supporting culture as an engine for social and economic development (ii) promoting culture and inter-cultural dialogue for peaceful inter-community relations and (iii) reinforcing cooperation on cultural heritage.

Full document.  

Servicio Europeo de Acción Exterior / EUROsociAL+