Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Latin America: Significant new EU support for Latin America announced

Source: European Commission

European Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will today announce new EU support of €2.5 billion for Latin America for the years 2014 to 2020 (including funding for regional programmes, and for the bilateral envelopes to the eligible countries).

The new financial package, which is part of the Development Cooperation Instrument, now published, will be discussed today at the EUROsociAL conference in Brussels, where decision makers and high level representatives from the EU and Latin America will come together to discuss future cooperation between the two regions.

Ahead of the event, Commissioner Piebalgs said: "This aid package marks a new step in the way we work with Latin America, and sends a very strong signal of our commitment to continuing to support the region’s development efforts. We are not turning our back on this continent; we are looking forward with it, together.
“I’ve visited Latin America several times recently and have been very proud to see the EU’s contribution to the impressive progress the continent has made over the last decade. I’m convinced that this new chapter in our relationship will see our partnership flourishing.”

The new regional funding will be focused on the areas where it can make the greatest difference; which have been identified in consultation with the Latin American partner countries:

• security
• good governance, accountability and social equity
• inclusive and sustainable economic growth
• environmental sustainability, resilience and climate change
• education and training programmes for young peoples under Erasmus+

A sub-regional programme for Central America is also included in today's package.

In line with the Agenda for Change– the Commission’s policy blueprint to focus aid on those countries which need it most and sectors where it can make the biggest difference – the EU has reshaped the way that it works in Latin America. This means a more strategic partnership between the two going forward, in which the two regions seek solutions to common challenges (e.g. climate change) via regional cooperation.
Today's funding comes from the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), which is part of the overall EU budget.,

18 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela) are covered by the DCI and eligible for these regional funds.

At the same time, bilateral cooperation with countries facing the greatest challenges in Latin America (Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay and Nicaragua) will remain significant. Moreover, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru will benefit from bilateral funding, which will allow for a very gradual phase out.
EUROsocial: a flagship programme for social cohesion in Latin America

Despite significant recent growth, inequality remains one of Latin America's most important challenges.
EUROsociAL has become the European Union´s flagship programme in Latin America for social cohesion. Under the motto "Supporting policies, connecting institutions" it brings together political decision-makers and high-level public servants from European and Latin American public administrations to develop and implement policies to reduce social inequalities.

EUROsociAL takes an innovative approach that produces measurable results despite a relatively small budget, divided among 18 partner countries in 10 thematic areas. Total EU contribution amounts to €70 million (€30 million during its first phase, from 2004-2009, and €40 million during the second one, from 2011-2014).

It actively fosters ‘South-South’ cooperation in Latin America (i.e. when knowledge based on previous cooperation and adjusted to the specific conditions in a neighbouring country has been transferred from one Latin American country to another) – spending on which is expected to top €10 million during the programme’s second phase.

It is also results-based, supporting only actions that have clearly formulated goals and are part of broader public policies. For example, some tangible results include supporting the reform of the labour information system in Colombia to better match labour market demand and supply, contributing to the introduction of a new law for handicapped people in Honduras and helping to implement a new policy on fiscal education in Brazil. It has also fostered many regional initiatives in Latin America, in areas as diverse as tax administration, regional development, justice and social and economic dialogue.

Regional Cooperation with Latin America

A number of strategic priority areas for the EU’s regional cooperation with Latin America have been identified in consultation with the Latin American countries. They include:
  • inclusive and sustainable economic growth, addressing structural weaknesses, acute economic inequality and over-reliance on extraction of natural resources;
  • reconciling environmental sustainability with continued development in a region that is highly vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters;
  • capacity-building (eg providing training and sharing expertise) of state institutions responsible for security and rule of law, so as to enhance human rights and gender equality, build public trust and strengthen the social contract needed for development to succeed;
  • improvements in governance, accountability and tax collection and spending, so as to tackle inequality, increase social cohesion and respond to the growing social demand for quality public services.