Brussels, 30.09.2009 - SEC(2009) 1227 final
Commission Staff Working Document
Accompanying Document to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council
Ten years after the first Summit between the Heads of State and Governments of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and the European Union (EU), which set a new political and cooperation agenda, relations between the two regions have been considerably strengthened in many fields. This document gives a brief overview of the achievements in the main fields of cooperation and relations with Latin American partners.
Over the past decade, and with the support and firm commitment from the Commission, relations between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean have been considerably strengthened. Ever since the first Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1999, the two regions have cooperated on a joint agenda in a number of bi-regional, bilateral, multilateral and sectorspecific fora on a wide range of issues.
In 2005, the Commission Communication ‘A stronger partnership between the European Union and Latin America’1 built on the achievements thus far and helped revitalise the biregional relationship. The EU’s strategicPage 112 objectives on Latin America that have guided action over the last decade are to:
• Strengthen political dialogue at regional, sub-regional (MERCOSUR, Andean Community, Central America) and bilateral levels, culminating in a Summit every two years where commitments are taken in key areas of the Partnership.
• Pursue regional integration engaging, where possible, in negotiations to conclude Association Agreements (AA) with sub-regions, and strengthen bilateral relations. Bilateral relations are now stronger thanks to, in particular, the successful implementation of the existing Association Agreements (with Chile and Mexico) and the establishment of Strategic Partnerships with Brazil and with Mexico. The establishment of a high-level political dialogue with Argentina is underway. The Commission is convinced that the EU should explore with other countries the possibilities to enrich the current bilateral relations.
• Promote social cohesion — or the fight against poverty, inequality and exclusion — which is a priority for development cooperation.
These strategic objectives have not changed after ten years. Nevertheless, the approach to reaching them needs to be somewhat refined in order to respond to the changing global context. This is the aim of the new Communication ‘The European Union and Latin America: Global Players in Partnership’ (2009)2.
The EU-LAC Summit process is particularly important in implementing the Strategic Partnership. It facilitates political dialogue at the highest level, underscores the special nature of the relationship and fuels the bi-regional agenda.
Since the first meeting in Rio in 1999, which set up the Strategic Partnership between the regions and launched the EU-MERCOSUR negotiations, four more EU-LAC Summits have taken place, each defining policy orientations for the near future.
The Madrid Summit in 2002 launched the ALBAN3 and @LIS4 programme and the EU-LAC Common Higher Education (and Knowledge) Area concept. The Guadalajara Summit in 2004 launched the EUROsociAL5 Programme and invited Ministers concerned to design actions in the higher education field to further implement the EU-LAC Common Higher Education (and Knowledge) Area. This was implemented at EU level through the Alfa programme and specific Erasmus Mundus geographical lots for Latin America.
The Summit in Vienna in 2006 was important as it set up the EuroLat6 and launched negotiations on an Association Agreement with Central America and the Andean Community. The most recent EU-LAC Summit in Lima in 2008 was a chance to coordinate positions on strategic topics that are high on the bi-regional and international agenda, such as poverty and climate change. It also introduced the initiative for the EU-LAC Foundation and launched EUrocLIMA7.
The trend in coordinating positions on strategic topics is also noticeable at other high-level biregional meetings, such as the EU-Rio Group Ministerial Meetings that take place every second year, alternating with the EU-LAC Summits. As such, and particularly after Cuba joined in November 2008 making its members identical to the EU-LAC process, it is perfectly placed to share the agenda of the Summit process, allowing for greater advantage to be taken of the Strategic Partnership. The most recent meeting, which took place in Prague in May 2009, focused on the current economic and financial crisis, renewable energy and energy security and climate change.
The deepening of cooperation between Latin America and the Caribbean is an important component of the EU-LAC Strategic Partnership. Various summit declarations have called for the promotion of the consolidation of relationsPage 114 between the EU and the wider Caribbean. Different treaties and agreements are already linking both sub-regions, such as the Amazon Treaty or the pending FTA between CARICOM and Costa Rica. Cooperation among all countries bordering the Caribbean Sea also takes place through the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) in areas such as natural disaster preparedness, tourism, transport and sustainable development. As a sign of commitment to supporting cooperation in the wider Caribbean, the Commission became an observer to the ACS in spring 2009.
The EU and the six Central American (CA) countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) enjoy a comprehensive relationship that encompasses political dialogue, a broad cooperation framework, both in scope and amounts, and a favourable trade regime (GSP+)8.
The San José Dialogue, launched in Costa Rica in 1984, has shaped EU-CA relations. Since then, the EU has made a significant contribution to peace and democratisation processes, and to socio-economic development in CA. It can claim an important historical success in that it played a key role in bringing peace and re-establishing democracy in the region in the early 1990s. A Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement was concluded with the sub-region in 2003.
At the Vienna Summit in May 2006, it was decided to launch negotiations on a comprehensive Association Agreement between the EU and CA that would include three pillars: political dialogue, cooperation and trade. On that occasion, CA reaffirmed its commitment to deepening regional integration, which the EU has supported for more than twenty years. Association Agreement negotiations were launched in June 2007. Since then, seven rounds of negotiations have taken place, and considerable progress has been made, nearing conclusion of the Agreement. To date, Panama remained an observer in the negotiations. Following the recent political crisis in Honduras resulting in the ousting of President Zelaya, negotiations have been postponed. It is hoped, however, to resume negotiations once the situation has normalised.
Following the EU-LAC Summit in Madrid (2002), negotiations on a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the AndeanPage 115 Community (CAN) were launched and concluded in the course of 2003. In Guadalajara (2004), Heads of State and Government decided to launch a joint assessment exercise on regional integration to prepare for regional negotiations on a comprehensive Association Agreement containing three pillars: political dialogue, cooperation and trade. After the assessment exercise ended in July 2006, negotiations were launched in June 2007. After three rounds, negotiations stalled as the CAN member countries could not agree on common trade positions.
Whilst concluding an Association Agreement with the entire region remains a long-term objective, the Commission has proposed and the Council endorsed a new double-track negotiating approach in January 2009. This approach updates the EU-CAN Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement of 2003 and offers a prospect of concluding a Trade Agreement with those Andean Community countries that are willing to embark upon ambitious, comprehensive and WTO-compatible negotiations.
In recent years, Mercosur has made rather limited progress on the core aspects of its integration project, i.e. completing a customs union and common market. Negotiations on a three-pillar Association Agreement (political dialogue, cooperation, free trade area) were launched in 2000, but put on hold in 2004 due to disagreements on the trade chapter. Since then, political dialogue and high-level meetings have taken place regularly, as well as highlevel technical meetings on trade, during which both parties confirmed their commitment to relaunching negotiations when conditions allow. Meanwhile, scientific cooperation involving Mercosur countries accounts for more than 50% of that with the whole region.
Signing Association and/or Strategic Partnership agreements with Brazil, Chile and Mexico has deepened relations with these countries.
Brazil has emerged as a regional and even global player. The last decade has witnessed strong economic performance, sound management of public finances, political stability and fewer inequalities...