The EU is preparing for a diplomatic and commercial offensive in Latin America to counter the influence of China and Russia in the region, according to the Spanish newspaper El País.
According to the El País publication, Brussels is alarmed by the advancement of the Russian Federation and China in the states of Latin America. The publication notes that the EU neglected its relations with the region for almost a decade, focusing on other issues.
In turn, China increased its investment in Latin America by 26 times from 2000 to 2020. As stated in a European document sent to EU foreign ministers, China is “the first or second most important trading partner of Latin America and the Caribbean, displacing the European Union and surpassing the United States in many countries.”
The newspaper also notes the political influence of Russia in the region. Brussels will try to stop the growing distance with Latin America with a “qualitative leap” in relations, culminating in a summit during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2023.
The publication recalls that the head of EU diplomacy, Spaniard Josep Borrell, initially set himself the goal of restoring his presence and influence in Latin America, but the novel coronavirus pandemic prevented the establishment of closer ties. In addition, according to El País, the situation around Ukraine has shown that many Latin American states do not share the European reaction to the conflict.
According to the publication, Brussels already feels competition from Beijing and Moscow in seeking support for the region in multilateral forums.
“The EU needs to systematically advance its multilateral commitment with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in view of increased competition from China, Russia and others,” the community believes.
The budget of the European Commission for cooperation with the region in the period from 2021 to 2027 is 3.4 billion euros. According to the department of Borrell, these funds should be used “strategically and for the sake of maximum impact.” Brussels is also studying the preparation of an investment package that, based on public and private capital and loans, could attract 8 billion euros. According to the publication of the publication, we are not talking about altruism, since three countries in the region – Bolivia, Argentina and Chile – have large reserves of lithium, and Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil have significant reserves of oil and gas.
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