Is Europe getting far from Latin America?

· Economics
Authors
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It seems that Europe has lost interest in Latin America. (The graphic is a derived work from http://thegoldguys.blogspot.com/)

By Andrés Espinosa Fenwarth (aespinosa@minagricultura.gov.co), translation of Albeiro Rodas, published in Spanish in Portafolio.com.co on October 15, 2008.

The Andean Summit of Guayaquil (Ecuador) will see this week the relations with the European Union (EU) that were managed in the past country by country. With the strengthening of the EU, first as a customs union and after as a common market, our relations has become of region to region, based in several inter parliamentary and ministerial meetings done during more than three decades and especially by the Summits of Chiefs of State of Rio de Janeiro (1999), Madrid (2002), Guadalajara (2004), Vienna (2006) and Lima (2008).

Although this important political bi regional effort made by both sides, the results of this association still, according with what was pointed out by the European member José Iganacio Salafranca in the Summit of Vienna, “without concrete important expression, neither on the politic arena, nor on the economic, commercial or social areas.” The last Inter Parliamentary Conference EU/LA gave reason to that statement, because it concluded that the European and Latin American relations are “in a state of germinal development and, in this sense, insufficient.”

Jaime Ensignia hold that in a study made by the German Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation within the context of the Summit of Lima, the “importance of Europe for Latin America is in many ways bigger than the importance of Latin America for Europe, because Latin America is not having a relevant place in the direct interests of Europe, at least in a short term.”

The Complutense Institute of International Studies of Madrid published few weeks ago a report asked by the Direction of Foreign Politics of the European Parliament on the effectiveness of the cooperation for the development between Europe and Latin America and it concluded that “Latin America seems to lost relevance in the agenda of the foreign relations of Europe.” The study is centralized in the analysis of the politics of the UE toward our region and the bilateral relations done by the different countries, included United States, as the common institutions and the Latin American integration.

The study mentions also that the European priorities have been moved to the fulfillment of the exigences of the communitarian market expansion toward East Europe and the Balkans. The lost of the importance of our region means “the detour of funds of European cooperation toward Sub-Saharan Africa and Easter Asia to the detriment of the Latin American interests.” In commercial matter, the report corroborates the apparent perception that the “new Agreements of Association answered to a reactive policy of the EU to United States.”

The EU has now the gold opportunity to give credit to the preeminence of Latin America through the announcement of the relaunch of the negotiations of an Agreement of Economical Association without exclusion of the Andean countries that are ready to that and the subscription of the frustrated Agreement on Bananas of Geneva negotiated recently under the sponsorship of the WTO.

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