Economic Relations between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean

Despite the fact that a certain level of dissatisfaction is frequently expressed on both sides of the Atlantic, economic relations between the European Union (EU) and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have grown stronger over recent decades, although the momentum has slowed in more recent years, because of the trade between LAC and China. The signing of partnership agreements between the EU and most of the countries of LAC has led to an increase in external trade between the two regions, while at the same time the EU countries have remained the main source of direct foreign investment in LAC. There has also been an increase in investment by companies in LAC in countries of the EU. Nevertheless, the agreement between the EU and Mercosur, the largest market in LAC, is still awaiting ratification.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the growing impacts of climate change have renewed the momentum behind the need for close cooperation between both regions. The EU and its Member States have provided 3 billion euros of immediate medical aid to LAC. The EU has exported more than 130 million doses of vaccine to LAC countries, and is one of the principal contributors to the COVAX facility, which has given the region 50 million doses. The Member States of the EU have donated a further 10 million doses to almost half the LAC countries.

As for climate change, the two regions have been closely aligned since the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was negotiated at COP21 (December 2015). Europe has prioritised the ecological transition, the digital transformation and sustainable development in its regional and bilateral cooperation programmes, and the LAC countries are receptive to the means of implementation (climate finance, technology transfer and capacity development) to stimulate climate change mitigation and adaptation. These two regions are perhaps those which have given greatest political support to the implementation of the Paris Agreement, along with groups of countries such as the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the Low-Income Countries (LIC).

3.4 billion euros will be made available to LAC as part of the multi-annual programming (2021-2027) of NDICIGlobal Europe, to support a green and sustainable recovery from the pandemic. In addition, the EU intends to raise over 12 billion euros of public and private investment in the region through the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+). The Regional Multi-Annual Indicative Programme (MIP) of the EU for LAC (2021-27) will support the green transition, the digital transformation, the sustainable and inclusive economy, democratic government, security and migration, as well as social cohesion and the fight against inequality. Human development and education will play a leading role in these areas. Achieving greater growth, stability and security in the LAC countries makes their markets more attractive to EU companies, both for trade and for investment.

French version here.