Latin America as a strategically important region
CARICOM conference attendees
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.
Latin America and the Caribbean have undergone various forms of transformation in recent years and decades. They have grown in both economic and political clout, a fact reflected in the new assurance they demonstrate in the international arena. In some Latin American countries, new political movements and balances of power are leading political action in a new direction. Many countries in Latin America 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
On 4 August 2010, the German Government presented an interministerial strategy to shape Germany’s long-term Latin America policy. Its priorities are as follows:
- Cooperation on global challenges such as environmental protection and climate change, the fight against organised crime and drugs, and shaping the architecture of the global financial market
- 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
Strategic Partnership between the EU and Latin America
The Strategic Partnership between the EU and Latin America covers all countries in the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean and thus around one billion people. It was founded in June 1999 at the first EU‑LAC Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The two regions cooperate closely in the spheres of politics, business, culture, and science and technology. A tightly-woven network of diverse relationships, activities and cooperation mechanisms encompasses the governmental level as well as parliaments, civil society and businesses. At the governmental level, summits take place every two years, alternating with biennial meetings of foreign ministers. Regular meetings are also held between senior officials and, on occasion, the heads of particular government departments. The partnership between the EU and Latin America has been further developed and refined at summits in Madrid (2002), Guadalajara (2004), Vienna (2006), Lima (2008), Madrid (2010) and Santiago (2013). The next summit is to be held in Brussels in June 2015. The summits serve as a forum for political dialogue on important global issues and as a catalyst for shaping concrete bilateral relations (through association or partnership agreements, direction of development assistance, etc.).
Association agreements with particular regional groups or countries are an essential component of relations between the EU and the Latin American and Caribbean region. They are based on the three pillars of political dialogue, trade and cooperation. Following far‑reaching association agreements with Mexico and Chile (in force since 2000 and 2005 respectively), the EU concluded a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) in 2008. Negotiations on an association agreement with Central America and a multi-party trade agreement with Peru and Colombia were concluded during the 2010 EU‑LAC Summit. The agreements were approved by the European Parliament in 2012 and have been applied in some countries since 2013. They will enter into force fully once all parties have ratified them. Association negotiations with MERCOSUR were resumed in 2010 and are ongoing.
Last updated 04.02.2015