Foreign Minister Westerwelle und and his Brazilian counterpart Patriota
© photothek / Köhler
Latin America - a strategically imprtant region
In the realm of international relations, Germany’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean stand out as something special. Shared values and similar interests, as well as the close cultural ties that have developed over the years, form a unique basis for shaping cooperation that is both mutually beneficial at the bilateral level and responsible at the multilateral level.
In recent years and decades Latin America and the Caribbean have seen great changes. The region has acquired not only economic but also political clout, a fact reflected in the new assurance it demonstrates in the international arena. In a number of Latin American countries new political forces and constellations are shaping policy in new directions. Many Latin American countries are seeking and finding a range of new partners in other parts of the world, particularly in Asia, but also in Africa.
Since Germany is keen to put the traditionally close ties and shared interests we have with Latin America onto a secure footing for the future, we plan to step up our engagement with the region and present our country as a reliable long-term partner.
The German Government’s Strategy on Latin America and the Caribbean
Lake Pekoe in Chile
© dpa / picrtue-alliance
In the light of the changes taking place in Latin America, the German Government drew up a new inter-ministerial strategy for Germany’s relations with the region, which was presented by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on 4 August 2010.
The strategy takes the sub-continent’s growing influence into account and puts German-Latin American relations onto a qualitatively new basis.
The new Strategy on Latin Americaand the Caribbean identifies three priorities for joint action:
- Cooperation on global challenges such as environmental protection and climate change, the fight against organized crime and drugs, and shaping the global financial architecture
- Expansion of economic ties and promotion of mutually beneficial trade and investment in both directions
- Cross-border networking in the fields of science, research, education and culture.
Encounter with local citizens, Panama City
© photothek / Köhler
In all three areas the commitment of both sides to democracy, the rule of law and human rights is a valuable foundation for successful cooperation. In implementing our strategy for the region Germany therefore sees consolidating and strengthening these values as of crucial importance.
Implementation will also require collaboration with all the political and civil society actors who helped draw up the strategy. This will mean designing practical schemes and projects which not only promote cooperation with the region’s heavyweights but which also respond to the needs and interests of small and medium-sized nations. The political guidelines the strategy sets out provide the framework for the projects sponsored by the various ministries.
The new strategy has significantly intensified Germany’s political relations with Latin America. Just in the period since 2010, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has visited Latin America three times. On his most recent trip to Latin America from 12 to 20 February 2012 he visited Brazil, Peru and Panama, and took part in the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico.
In November 2011 the Federal Foreign Office held a highly successful conference on Latin America and the Caribbean, which was organized in cooperation with the Ibero-American Institute and the House of World Cultures. Speaking before an audience of 800, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle delivered a widely observed keynote speech on the opportunities and challenges for German-Latin American relations in the 21st century.
Last updated 26.01.2013