| A PRACTICAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE STRATEGIC
RELATIONS BETWEEN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND LATIN AMERICA
The Real Instituto Elcano of Spain has advanced a
concrete idea that, if incorporated into the bi-regional scenario, could
contribute to the effectiveness of the joint work that could be developed
between the European Union and Latin America.
It involves the creation of an EU-Latin America Trade
and Technology Council (EU-LAC TTC). Something similar exists between
the EU and the United States, and also between the EU and India.
The proposal contained in the report puts forward
some good ideas on the functions that such a Council could undertake.
It points out that it should be designed as a high-level executive bilateral
forum, with a pragmatic and results-oriented approach. According to the
report this would be "excellent starting point and a unique platform
for organizing the bilateral relationship between the two regions, including
the search for strategic agreements to address global challenges".
The Presidency of the European Union by Spain, which will be exercised
second half of 2023, provides an opportunity to advance practical and
concrete ideas that could strengthen the goal of establishing a special
strategic relationship with Latin America.
In this regard, a prestigious Spanish institution, the Real Instituto
Elcano, has just
published a report entitled ¿Por qué importa América
Latina? (Why does Latin America matter"), which contains
concrete proposals that may contribute to the advancement of the strategic
relationship between the European and Latin American regions (the full
report can be found on http://www.realinstitutoelcano.org;
see also the article by one of the authors, Carlos Malamud, published
under the same title on pages 4 and 5 of the section El Observador of
Perfil newspaper on July 9, 2023).
The mentioned report of the Real Instituto Elcano advances an idea that
much attention: the need to create an EU-Latin America Trade and Technology
Council (EU-LAC TTC). The report includes sound proposals about the functions
that such a Council could undertake. It also points out that it should
be designed as a high-level bilateral forum and, as such, it could provide
an excellent starting point and a unique platform to organize the bilateral
relationship between the two regions, including the search for strategic
agreements to address global challenges. A similar forum already exists
in the EU - US trade relations and in the case of the EU and India. Furthermore,
the report states that a TTC would constitute an important milestone in
the relations between the EU and our region, taking them to a higher level,
and thus deepening their strategic commitment (see www.relalinstitutoelcano.org.).
In this sense, the Mercosur presidential meeting held in Puerto Iguazú
at the beginning of July, highlighted the importance of institutional
mechanisms that can be effective for the development of the idea of joint
work among the member countries of an economic integration process. Once
again, the meeting revealed the differences of opinion at the highest
level of the member countries regarding Uruguay´s approach to its
possible bilateral trade agreement with China.
A webinar held on July 6 and organized by the Universidad de la República
Uruguay also advanced concrete ideas aimed at strengthening the capacity
for joint work among the countries of the South American region. The meeting
was chaired by Professor Nelson Villareal Durán, and included the
participation of Félix Peña as speaker, and Enrique Iglesias,
Carlos Ominami and Rita Coitinho as commentator (the
video of the meeting can be accessed on https://www.youtube.com).
In our keynote presentation, we addressed certain issues aimed at facilitating
the debate on the construction of regional integration in the South American
space and taking into account possible bi-regional developments, for example
with the European Union.
The topics included the following:
- there are several concrete experiences in the Latin American region
in terms of regional integration. Some have failed, others are fledgling;
- the methods employed would need to be adapted to new realities. They
may not always require amendments to their institutional covenants;
- models from other regions have been eroded, or theoretical approaches
formulated in realities that are quite different from those that currently
prevail in the world and even in each distinct region;
- in the South American space, there is currently no formal process
integration encompassing all of the twelve countries of the region;
- the construction of such a process is a challenge that requires,
simultaneously, a significant dose of strategic vision, political leadership
and civil society participation;
- the possibility for building a space of deeper integration has three
conditions that work in its favor and that are present in the current
South American space:
- to be considered as a "peace zone" in terms
of nuclear weaponry;
- to exhibit multiple diversities;
- to be endowed with valuable natural and cultural resources.
- Finally, as a conclusion, if the current institutional map of the
space is properly utilized, it could facilitate the gradual creation
of favorable conditions for the development of a deep integration process
that encompasses the
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Félix Peña es Director
del Instituto de Comercio Internacional de la Fundación ICBC; Director
de la Maestría en Relaciones Comerciales Internacionales de la
Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF); Miembro del Comité
Ejecutivo del Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales (CARI).
Miembro del Brains Trust del Evian Group. Ampliar