New Challenges for Association Agreements EU-Latin America and the Caribbean: III. Workshop

The EU-LAC Foundation together with the Fundación Carolina organised the third Workshop of the joint project "Network of Association Agreements between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean", which took place on June 17.

The two foundations have agreed to carry out a comprehensive study on the network of Association Agreements between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean. As a result of this study, a series of virtual workshops are held from 20th of May to 1st of July 2021 with the participation of the main stakeholders in each of the Association Agreements (governments, officials from both regions, experts, parliamentarians, private sector and civil society organisations).

The third workshop presented the progress of the study we have been carrying out on the EU-Central America Agreement with a presentation by Prof. Pedro Caldentey del Pozo (Universidad Loyola Andalucia). The participants agreed on the enormous symbolic value of this agreement. After looking into the structure, potentials and weaknesses of the draft, those present concluded that the EU-Central America Agreement has had only a moderate impact on the development agenda of the Central American region, despite the commercial pillar of the Agreement proposing valuable political and economic incentives. Nevertheless, the gravity of the region's problems in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic demands political dialogue and cooperation between the two regions and the combination of the agreement and its development potential, given the EU's joint response to the pandemic, may encourage innovation in its implementation.

Afterwards, a presentation on the EU-Mexico Association Agreement by Enriqueta Serrano (El Colegio de San Luis) followed, which explained the three pillars of this agreement that was established in the year 2000: the economic, political and cooperation dialogue. Moreover, Ms Serrano highlighted the efforts to modernize the EU-Mexico Association Agreement in the past, which were concluded in 2018, e.g. referring to the changes in relation to the Lisbon treaty and its consequences for the revision of the European Union external actions. The participants of the workshop identified the lack of political will as a substantial impediment to making this agreement a reality. 

The initiative aims at reviewing the mapping of the association agreements between both regions to identify to what extent their ratification, modernisation and full use can contribute to a better international insertion, in economic matters and in the international relations of each party. The study also looks at the transitions that must be undertaken in the EU and Latin America in aspects such as sustainable development, digitalisation, and social cohesion.