Foreign ministers from the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean held an informal virtual meeting yesterday to discuss the future direction of the strategic partnership between our two regions. The meeting was hosted by Germany’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas and chaired by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell.
In her keynote opening speech, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, set out a vision for the future partnership: “The EU will work closely with Latin America and the Caribbean, building a sustainable future based on our shared values, goals and cooperation.” She also looked forward to engaging “in innovative ways with all countries in the region in pursuit of sustainable development”.
The joint communique issued after the meeting includes some key announcements of initiatives that the European Union is developing to make progress on the green and digital agendas with its partners in the region. For instance:
- The European Commission is set to launch LAGREEN, the first green bonds fund in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its main purpose is twofold: to finance climate- and resource-friendly investments; and to promote green bonds to mobilise local and international private capital across Latin America. This will directly help create jobs and new opportunities for more than 6 000 people. More broadly, the jobs created and maintained will serve indirectly to reduce the impact of poverty on in the economy as a whole. In all, 8.4 million people are ultimately set to benefit from the fund’s activities.
- The European Union will set up a regional Copernicus Emergency Management Service data centre in Panama. The centre will increase the region’s capacity to support post-disaster risk reduction, recovery and resilience.
These latest announcements build on the shared desire to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with more resilient, sustainable and equitable societies. In the meantime, the European Union, its Member States and financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank have come together as Team Europe to lead a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, we have set aside more than €2.4 billion for Latin America and the Caribbean. These funds are being used for the emergency response to COVID-19 and, for the longer term, to boost health, water and sanitation systems and address the pandemic’s terrible socio-economic impact. The next programming cycle for development cooperation, taking us to 2027, will carry this work forward.
In addition, in their joint communique the ministers call for a comprehensive, multidimensional and forward-looking response to fight the root causes of inequality as a matter of urgency. This is also a top priority for the European Commission in its international partnerships.
To build on its outcomes, the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean will step up their high-level political dialogue and work towards holding a bi-regional summit in the near future.
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- 15 December 2020
- Generaldirektoratet for Internationale Partnerskaber