The European Union (EU) has enjoyed a strategic bi-regional partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean since 1999. This official agreement only adds to the deep economic, cultural and historical ties between the partners. In recent days the partnership has been further strengthened in the area of sustainable development. The EU aims to help improve the living conditions in the Latin American and Caribbean area by 2030.
On 25-26 October 2016 a ministerial meeting was held in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic between the EU and the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC). During this meeting, the EU announced plans to allocate funds amounting to over €74 million to conjure up new sustainable development programmes in the region. In total, the EU has committed funds in excess of €710 million towards improving, inter alia, trade, investment and private sectors.
The complete package of programmes can be split into two, according to the specific region they are aimed at. The first region being the Caribbean and the other Latin America. The Caribbean is to benefit from a total of €44.2 million. This amount is to be further dissected into four segments: (1) a €9.2 million allocation for a technical assistance programme for sustainable energy (TAPSEC); (2) a €14 million allocation towards strengthening the services provided by the Dominican Republic’s public administration; (3) a €11 million fund to strengthen the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Dominican Republic; and (4) a fund of €10 million dedicated to aiding Dominica in its rehabilitation endeavours after the devastating effects of Tropical Storm Erika of August 2015.
The second region that shall receive development assistance from EU funds is Latin America. Under the new package of programmes, the group of countries in the region shall receive around €30 million. One of the programmes included in the EU’s latest undertaking is the EL PACTO security programme, which is a cooperation initiative that is implemented in all the Latin American states that are entitled to Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) funds: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.