Multilateralism and Regionalism in Challenging Times: Relations between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean

The EU-LAC Foundation and the Regionalism Observatory are pleased to present this publication that compiles a series of contributions from prominent experts dedicated to the analysis of relations between Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean from a multilateral perspective. This book is moreover a continuation of a series of webinars co-organised by both entities during 2021, whose recordings are available via the following link:

The first chapter of the book, written by Karina Mariano, Cairo Junqueira and Bárbara Neves, focuses on the overall EU-LAC relations in such challenging times. Considering the turbulent scenario seen in both regions, the authors reflected upon the following questions: How have recent geopolitical, economic, health and environmental challenges affected EU-LAC relations? How relevant is the EU-LAC bi-regional association to address global collective issues today? What opportunities can be identified for EU-LAC bi-regional relations? What EU-LAC countries need to do in order to seize them? Will future EU-LAC relations become more or less a priority for both sides of the Atlantic?

In the second part of the book, Gerardo Caetano, Isabel Camisão and Bruno Luciano assess how democratic and illiberal threats have been affecting both the European Union and the Latin America and Caribbean region, as well as the relations between the two, which has been traditionally grounded in shared norms such as democracy and the rule of law. In doing so, the authors aimed to address the following questions: How is the European Union responding to these democratic threats? How effective is the EU rule of law mechanism? How can the EU give a stronger voice to its citizens? How have Latin American governments and civil society responded to democratic breakdowns and the rise of illiberal leaders in the region? How has the region dealt with concrete cases of political, economic and humanitarian crises such as the one seen in Venezuela? How have these internal democratic drifts affected its external partnerships based on shared values, such as the EU-LAC partnership? Can current EU-LAC relations still contribute to the defence and promotion of democracy in the two regions?

The chapters from Sandra Guzmán and José Antonio Sanahuja, which focused on the envi- ronment and climate change agenda, highlight how environmental issues and climate change have been addressed within EU and LAC regional agenda. Therefore, they reflect upon questions such as: How is the European Union addressing climate change? How does the EU articulate its view regarding environmental issues and climate change in multilateral forums? How do environmental issues affect the interaction of the EU with key partners in international affairs? How have countries in the LAC region been affected by climate changes? How do they articulate the need to address environmental issues with economic growth? How have they articulated a common vision regarding climate change at a regional and global level? How are environmental issues and climate change introduced in the EU-LAC partnership? How do the EU and LAC countries manage key challenges in this dimension? Can EU-LAC partnership evolve into a more meaningful and strategic approach to climate change at a global level?

The part on trade and sustainability, composed of contributions from Mariana Vazquez, Marcus Salles and Regiane Bressan, discusses how the European Union and Latin American and Caribbean countries have been affected by an increasingly geopolitical trade order, but also by new sustainability concerns raised by the global climate emergency and the coro- navirus pandemic. Thus, the authors explored: How have the trade relations between the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries been affected by an increasingly assertive China and its major presence in international trade as well as the new US administration? Are trade relations between the EU and CELAC countries complementary or contradictory to the global trade governance underpinned by the World Trade Organization? What challenges lie ahead for the conclusion of the EU-Mercosur Agreement and what role do sustainability considerations play in the future of the agreement and of international trade?

The fifth part of the book discusses how current global challenges have impacted human rights in EU and LAC countries. Jan Wouters, Gustavo Müller, Dina Sebastião and Samara Guimarães address the following questions: What have the EU and LAC governments been doing to address social tensions and humanitarian crises endangering human rights? What is the EU doing to face erosion of human rights and the threat of potential setbacks in a multicultural Europe? What can EU-LAC cooperation do to put human rights and multiculturalism in the multilateral agenda? Have their internal related problems negatively affected cooperation in this field? Or can they foster solutions for both regions to improve human rights?

The coordinators thank all the experts who contributed to this publication, as well as all the panellists and attendees who participated in the series of webinars. A special acknowledgment goes to Ilenia Vásquez Ortiz, intern at the EU-LAC Foundation, who assisted with the revision and edition of this book.