The EU has once again placed Latin America in its preferred field of focus and projects a diplomatic offensive that will take the head of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile in June, and that on July 17 and 18 will bring together at a summit in Brussels the heads of State and Government of the Twenty-seven and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC) under the Spanish presidency of the EU. The visit being made by High Representative Josep Borrell to Cuba is part of this same logic of resignifying the role of the EU in Latin America. Faced with China's determined desire to take positions in the region, Europe wants to strengthen its alliances in an area that brings together 33 countries and more than 700 million inhabitants. The objective is strategic: in times of recomposition of the pieces in world geopolitics, it is necessary to strengthen alliances between countries to promote democracy, security, the reduction of inequalities and respect for human rights.
The weight of the Asian giant in Latin America is growing and has multiplied its investments there by 26 between 2000 and 2020, in addition to incorporating 21 countries to its New Silk Road, the tool with which Beijing adds complicities around the world. The EU has been losing steam in trade and, although it is the main investor there, it needs to recover an initiative that it has been losing in recent years. Hence the relevance of a project that Brussels will approve in the coming days and that aims at the creation of a permanent relationship body between the European Union and Latin American governments to strengthen institutional ties and promote not only economic agreements but collaboration in infrastructure, the fight against drug trafficking, justice or scientific projects.
The EU lacks essential raw materials to face the great transformations in which it has embarked to develop a green economy, and Latin America and the Caribbean are rich in some essential minerals for this purpose, such as the very fundamental lithium (60% of the reserves are in Bolivia, Chile and Argentina). Given the foreseeable concern of many governments in the region that a new extractive cycle will begin that will end up forcing them to sell their resources, and given the signs of distancing of some countries in recent appointments, Europe seeks to regain confidence with a package of investments and programs aimed at reducing the lacerating inequalities of Latin America, facilitate local development and consolidate human capital. Spain has announced nearly 10,000 million euros for the area: it will have to lead a strategic operation during its next presidency of the EU from July 1 that involves it and that commits the rest of the States at the same time.