EU Relations with Latin America: From Social Resilience to Global Governance

Written by | Monday, March 28th, 2016

Bernardo Venturi (Istituto Affari Internazionali)

In a world with more and more conflicts and with an increasing level of competition between states, Latin America is one of the exceptions. The region has for long been successful at solving its deeply rooted problems and it is, on the contrary, heading towards democracy and socio-economic development. Due to these factors, the region is one the key partners for the European Union.

The dialogue between the EU and Latin American countries is undoubtedly important, among others also because it can strengthen the social resilience of the LAC countries (Latin America and the Caribbean). Economic issues, such as, for example, the recent economic crisis, threaten their political and social stability. This, in turn, leads to the undermining of the democratic process, which is otherwise crucial for the effective cooperation between the Latin American countries and the Union. For Latin America to become part of global governance, it must be resilient politically, economically and socially. All sections of the society must be able to withstand any potential external pressures.

Despite the fact that the cooperation and dialogue between the EU and LAC is necessary, it happens that the Union does not always act in a uniform way in relation to this partner. In some key areas of cooperation, only bilateral talks with individual countries take place. Moreover, even Latin America is not completely united at the political level. It is rather a sort of a confederation based on the coordination of the policies of individual countries. In the future, it will be important for the LAC countries to create their own model of integration, which would streamline the collaboration of the whole region with the EU. Their cooperation is important because of the role that both regions will play in global governance.

The fact that Europe and Latin America share a common history is one of the advantages benefiting their relationship. The same cultural roots could help streamline the cooperation between these two regions and thereby strengthen their position in global governance. Nevertheless, EU is well advised to change its approach to Latin America in the future. It is crucial that the EU stops seeing the LAC as a region that looks for guidance and requires help – on the contrary, Brussels should start viewing it as a real partner who can assist others with economic development.

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