EU-Latin America: together for Sustainable Development and Multilateralism

On 17 April, ten years after the last major EU strategy for Latin America and the Caribbean, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy released a Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council “European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean: joint forces for a common future”.

The Communication stresses that “the fast evolving geopolitical environment reinforces the case for a more effective regional and bilateral cooperation, a modernised partnership focused on trade, investment and sectoral cooperation”. This partnership should concentrate on four priorities: Prosperity; Democracy; Resilience and Effective Global Governance.

 Under each of these priorities, the Communication identifies a number of positive concrete initiatives, in SOLIDAR’s view, in the following areas: 

  1. Promoting decent work and respect for labour and environmental standards which should remain a priority for cooperation. Emphasis is put on the implementation of International Labour Standards and the transition from informal to the formal economy;
  2. Enhancing respect for human rights, with a specific emphasis on freedom of expression and of association;
  3. Empowering civil society as a cornerstone of any democratic system;
  4. Reducing gender-based violence and promoting the social and economic rights of women and girls;
  5. Fighting against inequality and enhancing dialogue on social cohesion.

Moreover, it reiterates the EU commitment to championing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to reinforce multilateralism against a background of revamped nationalism in Europe and outside.

When it comes to development cooperation, the Communication highlights the need for a differentiated approach based on the different needs of the countries in the region and stresses the value of cooperation even with more advanced developing countries.

It remains to be seen how much room will be given to these laudable aims in the next Multi Annual Financial Framework (MFF).

In the meantime, the role of CSOs from both regions will be essential to ensure a truly human rights lead partnership.

 

Key documents: EU-LAC Joint Communication ; Factsheet - EU-LAC relations ; SOLIDAR Network Vision for stronger and fairer EU LAC relations

 

*In the Framework of the SOLIDAR – DEVCO Framework Partnership Agreement “Organising International SOLIDARity: Structuring local to global CSOs engagement on EU development cooperation issues”, SOLIDAR is active in Latin America to promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the full realisation of ESR.

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