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EU – Latin America: reinforced cooperation

During his visit to Peru, on July 21, the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, announced that the European Union would give this country 66 million euro for development, as well as 32 million euro to support the fight against illegal drugs for the period 2014-2017. Such aid will occur under the bilateral agreement between the EU and Peru.

The EU has been operating, indeed, in Latin America for 18 years through regional cooperation programmes but also thank to bilateral agreements with certain countries.

The regional cooperation programmes

Between 2007 and 2013, the EU has allocated € 556 million to this region in the fields of social cohesion, water management, development of the private sector, higher education and society information, among others. Concerning the new programming period, European aid will reach up to € 2.5 billion under the Development Cooperation Instrument. 18 countries in Latin America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela) are eligible for this programme (both regional and thematic programmes). The main areas involved are: security, good governance, accountability and social equity, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, environmental sustainability, resilience and climate change, as well as higher education (through Erasmus +).

During 2007 – 2013, the European Union implemented various programmes aimed to fight poverty and inequality, to strengthen good governance and the promotion of peace, and to develop economic cooperation, trade and support for regional integration. For example, the AL-INVEST programme, economic cooperation programme, aimed to support economic cooperation, investment and transfer of experiences between small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Europe and Latin America. Over 1000 activities have been implemented in more than 25 commercial sectors (agro-industry, environment and telecommunications sectors in particular). The EURO-SOLAR programme aimed, in turn, to provide with a source of renewable electricity isolated rural communities without access to electricity. Also aimed at reducing poverty, this programme has been deployed only in the eight poorest Latin American countries (including Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Peru).

Bilateral agreements

Besides these regional programmes, the EU has also established bilateral agreements with some countries of the region. However, for 2014-2020, a new strategy was put in place: a programme for change. The idea is to redirect aid and to give priority to the countries and areas that need it the most and where it can be most effective. Thus, for countries facing major challenges, such as Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay and Nicaragua, aids will remain consistent. Conversely, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, countries that have experienced remarkable progresses in social inclusion, bilateral funding will continue to consolidate this situation coming to an end in the course of 2017. However, these countries will still remain eligible for regional cooperation programmes, financed by the ICD.


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