Official Journal of the European Union

CE 81/54

Wednesday 5 May 2010
The EU strategy for the relations with Latin America


European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 on the EU strategy for relations with Latin America (2009/2213(INI))

2011/C 81 E/09

The European Parliament,

having regard to the declarations of the five Summits of Heads of State and Government of Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union held to date in Rio de Janeiro (28 and 29 June 1999), Madrid (17 and 18 May 2002), Guadalajara (28 and 29 May 2004), Vienna (12 and 13 May 2006) and Lima (16 and 17 May 2008),

having regard to the joint communiqué of the 14th Ministerial Meeting of the Rio Group and the EU, held in Prague on 13 and 14 May 2009,

having regard to the joint communiqué of the Ministerial Meeting of the San José Dialogue between the EU Troika and the Ministers of the Countries of Central America, held in Prague on 14 May 2009,

having regard to the declaration adopted at the 19th Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Estoril (Portugal) between 29 November and 1 December 2009 (Lisbon Declaration),

having regard to the Commission communication of 30 September 2009 on ‘The European Union and Latin America: Global Players in Partnership’ (COM(2009)0495),

having regard to the conclusions of the Council of the European Union on relations between the European Union and Latin America of 8 December 2009,

having regard to the resolutions of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat), and in particular the resolution of 20 December 2007 on EU-Latin America relations with a view to the Fifth Lima Summit and with special reference to democratic governance, the resolution of 8 April 2009 on the Euro-Latin American Charter for Peace and Security and the motion for a resolution of 15 October 2009 on the European Union–Latin America Partnership with a view to the Sixth Summit in Madrid in May 2010,

having regard to its resolutions of 15 November 2001 on a global partnership and a common strategy for relations between the European Union and Latin America (1), of 27 April 2006 on a stronger partnership between the European Union and Latin America (2), and of 24 April 2008 on the Fifth Latin America and Caribbean - European Union Summit in Lima (3),

having regard to its resolutions of 10 February 2010 on the earthquake in Haiti, of 11 February 2010 on Venezuela and of 11 March 2010 on prisoners of conscience in Cuba,

having regard to its resolution of 11 October 2007 on the murder of women (feminicide) in Mexico and Central America and the role of the European Union in fighting the phenomenon (4),

having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Development (A7-0111/2010),


whereas the biregional strategic partnership between the EU and Latin America is crucial, and it is important for both regions to continue deepening and improving this partnership,


whereas strengthening relations between the EU and Latin America is one of the priorities of the Spanish Presidency of the EU and of the future Belgian and Hungarian Presidencies,


whereas this biregional strategic partnership has achieved significant progress since its first summit in 1999, in particular the creation of the EuroLat Assembly - the parliamentary arm of the biregional strategic partnership - at the Vienna summit, but there are still some steps that need to be taken and challenges that need to be faced,


whereas one of the key objectives of the biregional strategic partnership is regional integration, with the conclusion of subregional and bilateral partnership agreements alongside strategic partnerships,


whereas the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) – despite differing in nature from the other South American integration processes (ACN, Mercosur and CAIS) – can lend impetus to those integration processes,


whereas, when faced with potential inter-American disputes, now or in the future, the governments involved – in line with the principle of subsidiarity – should exhaust all Latin American sources of legal remedy before turning to others outside the southern hemisphere,


whereas military expenditure both in Latin America and in Europe has increased considerably in recent years,


whereas this biregional strategic partnership has further consolidated coordination between the two parties within international forums and institutions, and as well as setting a common agenda it should continue to coordinate positions on matters of global importance, taking account of the interests and concerns of both parties,


whereas the recent ratification by the EU of the United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a milestone, and in view of what its implementation might mean for the over 60 million disabled persons living in Latin America in terms of the effective exercising of their civil and social rights and the promotion of equal opportunities,


whereas a new administration has taken office in the United States, raising great expectations,


whereas Latin America is an area which is home to more than 600 million people, accounts for 10 % of world GDP and has 40 % of the planet's plant species and exceptional human capital,


whereas relations between the EU and Latin America are based on common values, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is a key aspect of the strategic partnership,


whereas the development of relations with Latin America is of mutual benefit and can bring advantages both to all EU Member States and to the countries of Latin America as a whole,


whereas gender mainstreaming in all policies can help render societies fairer and more democratic, in that men and women are then viewed as equals in all walks of life,


whereas the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean bring together more than a billion people and a third of the member states of the UN,


whereas the EU is the main donor of development aid, the main investor and the second largest trading partner in Latin America - and the main trading partner in the case of Mercosur and Chile - and, since the biregional strategic partnership was launched in 1999, it has financed projects and programmes worth a total of more than EUR 3 billion,


whereas recovery from worldwide recession will still be slow in 2010; whereas, although Latin America has withstood the crisis better than other, advanced economies and average growth there in 2010 will reach almost 3 %, recovery will be very uneven and growth levels will not be high enough to produce a significant improvement in social conditions for its population, which still has far less social protection than its European counterpart,


whereas there are high levels of youth unemployment in certain major Latin American countries and EU Member States,


whereas, although significant progress has been made, the child and maternal mortality indicators for the region are disconcerting,


whereas drugs production and trafficking continue to be a very serious problem in the region; whereas the cultivation of coca leaves has increased in South America and there is a political and cultural disparity between the UN conventions and resolutions which consider it to be a prohibited crop and the official doctrine of certain governments which claim that the plant is part of their indigenous culture,


having regard to the situation of poverty, inequality and discrimination characterising certain indigenous communities in many Latin American countries,


whereas significant improvements are needed in sectors such as energy, water, infrastructures and communications, to match those already made in the telecommunications sector,


whereas development in Latin America and the region's ability to take part in integration processes will be held back unless infrastructures are properly adapted,


whereas the EU's immigration policy is causing great concern in Latin America and agreements need to be reached that take into account the Euro-Latin American partners’ legitimate interests on this very sensitive subject,


whereas the European Investment Bank (EIB) commenced its operations in Latin America in 1993 and has EUR 2.8 billion available to finance projects in the region in its current term (2007-2013),


whereas innovation and knowledge are fundamental instruments for eradicating poverty, combating hunger and attaining sustainable development, as was noted by the most recent Ibero-American summit,


whereas a recent study by the Organisation of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) put at EUR 55 billion the budget needed if the 2021 Educational Goals, which aim to put an end to the huge inequalities that exist at present, wipe out illiteracy, guarantee an education for the 15 million children aged between 3 and 6 who still do not go to school, create robust and effective vocational training systems, and appreciably improve university entry conditions, are to be achieved in the ten years between 2011 and 2021,


Welcomes the Commission communication ‘The European Union and Latin America: Global Players in Partnership’, which is designed to identify, assess and put forward operational proposals aimed at achieving a full biregional strategic partnership;


Welcomes the efforts made by the Spanish presidency to secure the signing of the EU-Central America Association Agreement and the multi-party trade agreements with Colombia and Peru, as well as its clear desire and commitment to relaunch negotiations between the EU and Mercosur;


Reiterates that support for the various regional integration processes in Latin America is a basic principle for the biregional strategic partnership, and trusts that this biregional strategic partnership will lead to closer coordination of positions on crisis situations and issues of world importance, on the basis of shared values, interests and concerns;


Notes the political changes that have occurred in both regions, and points to the need to follow developments so that the EU's Latin America policy can be redirected and adapted to the new circumstances if necessary;


Stresses the importance of the principles and values that underpin the biregional strategic partnership, such as pluralist and representative democracy, respect for human rights (in the political, economic and social domains) and fundamental freedoms, freedom of expression, the constitutional state and the rule of law, respect for due process, legal certainty and the rejection of all forms of dictatorship and authoritarian rule;


Calls on all those involved in the biregional strategic partnership to fulfil their responsibility in the area of governance and social justice;

Parliament's strategic vision of the EU-Latin America biregional strategic partnership


Reaffirms that the ultimate goal of the EU-Latin America biregional strategic partnership is the creation of a Euro-Latin American global interregional partnership area, by, approximately, 2015, in the areas of politics, economics, trade and social and cultural affairs, intended to ensure sustainable development in both regions;

Means of achieving the objectives of a Euro-Latin American area of global interregional partnership

In the political area of the biregional strategic partnership


Calls for the new possibilities offered by the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon to be used for the benefit of the biregional strategic partnership;


Calls on the Vice-President / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to ensure the unity, consistency and effectiveness of the Union's external action in relation to Latin America, with the support of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and by playing an active part at the forthcoming EU-Latin American and Caribbean Summit in May 2010 in Madrid;


Calls, in particular, on the Vice-President / High Representative and on the Council to set clear guidelines for the best way of working closely together in order to foster effective multilateralism, ensure preservation of the environment and natural resources, combat climate change, boost the UN's peacekeeping and peace consolidation capacities, ensure achievement of the Millennium Goals, and, within the framework of international law, tackle common threats to peace and security, including trafficking in illegal drugs and weapons, organised crime and terrorism, in line with the decisions reached in Lima;


Calls, likewise, for the creation of appropriate mechanisms for institutional cooperation between the EuroLat Assembly and the various EU bodies, as set out in the conclusions of the Lima summit;


Reiterates that the future EEAS must ensure that the EP has valid interlocutors in the EU's delegations - above all in key regions such as Latin America - so as to guarantee full cooperation with Parliament;


Recommends that a Euro-Latin American Charter for Peace and Security be adopted, including, on the basis of the UN Charter and related international law, strategies and guidelines for joint political and security action in order to deal with the common threats and challenges facing the members of the biregional strategic partnership;


Commends UNASUR on the work it has carried out and the diplomatic successes it has achieved in South America;


Reiterates its belief that the internal stability of many Latin American partner countries continues to depend on the reform of the state, which must include full and effective participation in the decision-making process by all indigenous populations and other minorities, so as to prevent discrimination of whatever kind and support their cultural rights and traditions, as these will help to enrich societies further and strengthen democratic governance;


Points out that an efficient and independent judiciary and an effective policy of respect for human rights as part of a responsible administration subject to controls and operating transparently will give citizens a sense of security, help build their trust in the representative parliamentary system and prevent them from becoming alienated from that system;


Calls for the continuation and deepening of a constructive dialogue on migration issues in the Euro-Latin American area, with both countries of destination and countries of origin and transit; with this in view, supports the structured global biregional dialogue on migration between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean, which began on 30 June 2009, thereby providing an impetus for the attainment of the undertakings given at the Lima summit; also welcomes the setting-up of a working group on migration within the EuroLat Parliamentary Assembly with the aim of creating a forum for dialogue and proposals in this area, taking part of the sensibilities of both partners on the matter;


Recommends, with reference to the projects currently under way in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia, that the funding allocated to programmes to eradicate drugs crops through alternative development programmes should be stepped up, and that a means be sought to involve the communities concerned in this;


Deplores the fact that some countries’ financial efforts have prioritised an excessive increase in military spending at a time when it is essential to reduce the effects of underdevelopment, poverty, pandemics, malnutrition, crime and natural disasters;


Urges that climate change and global warming should remain a priority on the political agenda between the EU and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean; stresses the need to agree joint positions in the various forums for dialogue on the environment and climate change, especially in the UN framework, while also supporting the summit to be held in Mexico in late 2010; calls, in addition, for the continuation of the meetings of the environment ministers from both regions following the initial one held in Brussels in March 2008; stresses, besides, that it is the poorest, and above all the indigenous communities, who are the first to fall victim to the adverse effects of climate change and global warming; hopes also that measures under the Latin America Investment Facility (LAIF) can be oriented, among other things, towards support for projects to combat the impact of climate change and the promotion of local public transport, electric vehicles and the ITT-Yasuni project in Ecuador, etc.;

In the economic and commercial area of the biregional strategic partnership


Reiterates its proposal for the creation of a Euro-Latin American global interregional partnership area based on a ‘WTO–Regionalism’ compatible model in two stages;


Supports firmly, with a view to completing the first phase, the resumption of negotiations on the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement - given that an Association Agreement of this kind, which is of the utmost importance and affects 700 million people, would, if concluded swiftly, be the world's most ambitious biregional agreement –, the conclusion of negotiations on the EU-Central America Association Agreement before the Madrid summit, the revision of the 2003 political and cooperation agreement with the Andean Community, and the deepening of the existing Association Agreements with Mexico and Chile; notes that the negotiations on the multi-party trade agreement between the EU and the countries of the Andean Community have been concluded satisfactorily; will endeavour to carry out, with due accuracy, the parliamentary ratification procedure on these agreements in order to ensure they have a positive impact on all aspects of mutual concern;


Recalls that the negotiations on the EU-Central America Association Agreement were started on the basis of a region-to-region approach, and emphasises that they should be concluded in the same manner, ensuring that no country falls behind;


Calls, in order to complete the second stage and with a view to reaching a global interregional partnership agreement by around 2015, for legal and institutional support and full geographical coverage to be provided for the various strands of the biregional strategic partnership, and for common provisions and rules of general scope to be established that facilitate the exercise of the various freedoms, so as to create as broad a partnership as possible by deepening both the integration agreements within Latin America and the EU's partnership process with the various countries and regional groupings;

In the social area of the biregional strategic partnership


Recommends, with a view to concerted action, coordinating the positions of both regions on how to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in the run-up to the high-level UN meeting scheduled for September 2010, in particular those concerning action to combat poverty, the creation of stable, quality jobs, and the social inclusion of marginalised groups, in particular indigenous groups, children, women and disabled persons;


Considers the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be one of the most important objectives to be achieved by 2015, by focusing investment on the poorest countries and most vulnerable peoples, and calls for both regions to find common ground ahead of the MDG high-level meeting to be held in September 2010;


Trusts that the opening of a serious and rigorous dialogue on topics linked to science, technology and innovation may boost the creation of a Euro-Latin American area of innovation and knowledge, with the agreement on innovation concluded with Chile being taken as an example to follow;


Reiterates that education and investment in human capital are the foundation of social cohesion and socio-economic development, and calls for decisive action, backed up by adequate funding, to be taken against illiteracy, the rate of which remains high in some countries in the region, in particular among girls and women, and for access to be provided to non-fee-paying public education at primary and secondary levels, which is currently restricted owing to a lack of the necessary budgetary resources in some countries; in this context, supports the project drawn up by the OEI, ‘Educational goals 2021: the education we want for the generation of the bicentenaries’;


Points out that unless there is a substantial change in the socio-economic environment it will be impossible for Latin America to be a full player in the knowledge society, which is the key strategic tool for development;


Welcomes the initiatives to promote and exchange knowledge and best practice in the field of law, such as the recent creation of a Centre for Legal Research, Development and Innovation for Latin America, welcomes the setting-up of the Group of 100, and takes the view that such initiatives may provide an extraordinarily useful tool to support the efforts made by the Commission to build the biregional strategic partnership;


Suggests that Latin American countries with potential or actual disputes with neighbouring countries – whether they be over borders or other issues – make every effort to bring those disputes before the courts established under the various integration processes or dealing with Latin American matters, and to avoid their transfer to courts outside the southern hemisphere;


Welcomes the efforts made with regard to gender equality, and asks for these to be stepped up; recommends the development of EU-Latin America cooperation policies which promote the strengthening of the legal status of women and equal access to education employment and to human and social rights, and calls on the governments and cooperation bodies concerned to support those initiatives with the appropriate human, financial and technical resources;


Calls on the relevant institutions within the strategic partnership to provide appropriate financial and technical support for policies to prevent and provide protection against violence against women;


Welcomes the recent ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the Campo Algodonero feminicides in Mexico, as a precedent for the whole region; calls on the governments of the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean to use this ruling as a guideline for future work, and to ensure that their strong condemnation of violence against women is accompanied by properly funded protection, prevention and restorative justice programmes; calls also for a strong commitment to combating gender violence in general, and for appropriate investment in reproductive health and in programmes designed to promote gender equality, sex education and access to methods of family planning, in accordance with the ICPD Programme of Action (1994);


Welcomes the efforts towards social cohesion made in recent years by the European Commission, the IDB, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the IMF and the World Bank, and recommends that the Eurosocial, URB-AL and EUrocLIMA programmes be renewed and stepped up; recommends also that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities be properly implemented, so as to promote equal opportunities for the over 60 million people in Latin America who are disabled and therefore at great risk of social exclusion;


Reiterates the importance of pooling experience in connection with issues of shared interest, such as social cohesion as a means of combating poverty and reducing inequality; welcomes, in this connection, the EU-LAC Forum on Social Cohesion held at ministerial level in Lima from 8 to 10 February 2010, which focused on the theme of ‘The promotion of decent work for young people: promoting social cohesion’, as well as the Bahia Declaration issued at the end of the Fourth International Meeting of EUROsociAL Networks on 25 June 2009;


Welcomes the EU-LAC meeting on the coordination of social security systems to be held between ministers and senior officials with responsibility for social security matters in Alcalá de Henares (near Madrid) on 13 and 14 May 2010, and also supports the work of the Ibero-American Social Security Organisation (OISS) in promoting economic and social wellbeing by means of social security-related coordination and experience pooling; requests that both the ministerial meeting and the OISS come forward with creative proposals to ensure maximum social security coverage for the communities concerned;


Points out that regional integration, as sought by many Latin American governments and fostered by the WU, is facing the serious problems of lack of infrastructure, insufficient intra-regional trade and limited knowledge in individual countries of the leading political, social and economic actors in the other countries;


Reiterates that a strategy based on practical pro-integration measures (covering roads, railways, oil and gas pipelines, cooperation in the field of renewable energy and the promotion of interregional trade, among other things) and measures to raise public awareness of the leading actors in the region would give integration a boost and bolster the region's sense of community;


Stresses that a coordinated strategy is needed in the energy, water and communications sectors, to prevent the region's growth from stagnating and ensure that sustainable development is not held back;


Recommends that the Latin American governments - hoping also that the EU will offer all possible support for this huge task and aware of the difficult social situation despite a reasonably sound economic outlook - adopt firm and consistent policies including investment in public works, strengthening of the internal market, support for SMEs, extension of credit facilities, greater investment in health and education, and more decided steps to deal with youth unemployment and gender discrimination in the workplace;


Recalls, in this connection, that - although it may not be easy to obtain suitable funding for the above objectives - it is necessary to build a fair, equitable and modern tax system capable of fighting tax avoidance, while also reviewing excessive military expenditure;


Urges the EU and the Latin American countries with indigenous populations to implement, by means of closer cooperation, effective plans for fighting hunger, underdevelopment, illiteracy and chronic disease;


Takes the view that the EU-LAC partnership's objective of social cohesion will be achievable only insofar as it generates a high level of development and fairness of income and wealth distribution, and that this objective requires concrete measures to be taken to eradicate poverty in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals and to strengthen the judicial system in the LAC countries;


Stresses the importance of food security for the LAC countries and of adequate food storage capacities in order to face forthcoming food supply challenges;


Calls on the EU to oblige EU-based transnational corporations to apply ecological and social standards established by international agreements, such as the ILO's Decent Work Agenda, in the LAC countries as minimum standards, and not to circumvent those standards;

Mechanisms for reaching the ultimate goals of the strategic partnership

Institutional mechanisms


Recommends that the biannual summits should be maintained, but stresses that relations with Latin America should not be restricted to a biannual vision but should be strengthened through a long-term vision;


Proposes that a biregional political dialogue be opened with new triangular approaches on issues, spheres and matters of common interest embracing EU-LAC-Asia, EU-LAC-Africa and EU-LAC-US, with a view to moving towards a Euro-Atlantic area comprising the US, Latin America and the EU;


Reiterates its proposal for the creation of a Europe-Latin America and Caribbean Foundation, whose primary purpose would be to help prepare the summits, follow up on the decisions and political courses of action adopted at the summits, and act as a forum for dialogue and coordination in the periods between summits for all the political, economic, institutional, academic and civil society bodies working to strengthen Euro-Latin American relations, including the EuroLat Assembly;


Proposes that the organisational structure of the above Foundation should be on similar lines to that of the Anna Lindh Foundation, with a President and an Advisory Council having the role of making recommendations on the Foundation's strategic orientations to its Governing Council, Director and national networks and forwarding those recommendations to all levels concerned;


Stresses that the Foundation's budget should be limited but sufficient for it to carry out its tasks, financed by contributions from its EU and Latin American member states, the EU budget, and own resources generated by the Foundation itself or made available to it by sponsoring bodies with connections to the Euro-Latin American area;


Proposes that the following be created, under the supervision and coordination of the above Foundation: a Migration Observatory for the Euro-Latin American area, responsible for permanently and closely monitoring all issues connected with migratory flows in this area; a Biregional Centre for Conflict Prevention, responsible for the early detection of causes of potential violent and armed conflicts, and seeking how best to prevent them and stop them from escalating; and a Biregional Centre for Disaster Prevention - particularly in the wake of the tragic situation in Haiti following the devastating earthquake of 12 January 2010 and in Chile in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami of 27 February 2010 - to devise common strategies and an emergency warning system aimed at reducing mutual vulnerability to natural disasters arising from climate or technological change;


Stresses that the subregional partnership agreements currently being negotiated need to be concluded, and regrets the fact that some of those agreements are currently and for various reasons in a state of paralysis; warns, however, that where there are unbridgeable differences of opinion alternative solutions must be sought - without losing sight of the overall strategic vision - in order not to isolate those countries that wish to establish closer political, commercial and social relations with the EU;


Reiterates the support given by the EU to regional integration processes and the ‘bloc-to-bloc’ negotiating approach pursued by the EU through association agreements, as in the case of Central America; recognises, however, that countries that wish to step up their relations with the EU should not be disadvantaged by internal problems within regional integration processes, as is the case with the Andean Community, nor by sovereign decisions by their component parts, however legitimate these may be;

Financial mechanisms


Supports the Latin America Investment Facility (LAIF) proposed by the Commission, as a tangible expression of the EU's commitment to consolidating regional integration and interconnectivity in Latin America, and hopes that it will help extend the spread of the countries and sectors in which European investments are made; notes that an amount of EUR 100 million has been set aside under the Community budget for the period up to 2013, without prejudice to other possible additional contributions and subsidies from the Member States;


Welcomes the signing in November 2009 of a memorandum of understanding between the EIB and the Inter-American Development Bank, and supports the efforts made by the EIB to finance projects in Latin America, while pointing out that if it is to fulfil its objectives the EIB will require more funding and contributions from both the EU and its Member States;


Stresses the importance of the EU's various financing instruments, but emphasises the need to go beyond the purely assistance-based approach to development cooperation with Latin America - so that the financial resources from the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) are concentrated on the poorest countries and most vulnerable groups - and to establish new forms of cooperation with emerging and middle-income countries in Latin America through the Industrialised Countries Instrument (ICI+); urges, to that end, that the criteria and principles set out in Article 32 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities be incorporated into the EU’s policy on cooperation with Latin America in order to promote and drive proactive policies which guarantee the effective social inclusion of the disabled;


Stresses the importance and desirability of working towards harmonisation of the regulatory and supervisory aspects of the various Latin American financial systems, with a view to bridge-building and convergence as far as possible with the European system, which has achieved concrete results in developing advanced models for supervising crossborder bodies;


* *


Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the Governments and Parliaments of the EU Member States and of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly, the Latin American Parliament, the Central American Parliament, the Andean Parliament, and the Mercosur Parliament.

(1)  OJ C 140 E, 16.3.2002, p. 569.

(2)  OJ C 296 E, 6.12.2006, p. 123.

(3)  OJ C 259 E, 29.10.2009, p. 64.

(4)  OJ C 227 E, 4.9.2008, p. 140.