About the initiative
The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center launched the Euro-Americas Forward program to further advance relations between the European Union, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States, with a focus on trade and investment, digital inclusion, the green transition, and political dialogue.
Following an eight-year hiatus, the 2023 EU-CELAC Summit of Heads of State and Government revitalized a conversation that was dormant and established a consistent periodicity for high-level dialogue. In addition, the Summit concluded in an ambitious and comprehensive 41-point joint declaration. Institutionalized follow-up mechanisms will be crucial to ensuring that shared commitments are met.
Trade and investment
In 2021, investment from the European Union accounted for 36 percent of total foreign direct investment (FDI) to Latin America and the Caribbean, surpassing the United States (34 percent) as the largest investor in the region. Combined, LAC countries are the EU’s fifth largest trading partner. The European Union has established trade agreements with several countries and subregional blocs, including Cariforum, the Central America group, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru.
The 2008 European Union, Latin America, and the Caribbean Summit in Lima established climate change as a priority area for EU-LAC cooperation. LAC is poised to play a pivotal role in the green energy transition due to its critical mineral endowments, including large shares of the world’s lithium (60 percent) and copper (40 percent). The European Investment Bank (EIB) has allocated €13.4 billion worth of investment to LAC, with a transversal focus on climate action.
Closing the digital infrastructure gap has been identified as one of the key levers to unlock higher productivity and more dynamic and inclusive economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean. EU-LAC cooperation on digital transformation includes initiatives such as the European Union-Latin America and Caribbean Digital Alliance and the Building the Europe Link to Latin America and the Caribbean (BELLA), a submarine fiber optic cable connecting the two regions.
In anticipation of the opportunity Spain’s EU presidency presents, AALAC partnered with Club de Madrid in early spring of 2023 to create a working group. Drawing on the expertise of the thirteen participants, including three former presidents, the working group is drafting a policy brief that provides recommendations for strengthening the connection between the EU and LAC. The group convened for their first session in July and will release its policy brief in late 2023.
The Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center broadens understanding of regional transformations and delivers constructive, results-oriented solutions to inform how the public and private sectors can advance hemispheric prosperity.