International Cooperation and Development

Latin America

Latin American countries have made significant steps towards achieving stable democracies, creating employment, and reducing poverty. The EU remains Latin America’s most important development partner. With our regional programmes we will continue to help the region tackle its remaining challenges.

Having acquired an upper middle-income status, many of the 18 countries that make up Latin America have transformed to become emerging donors.

Despite considerable improvements, the region faces challenges when it comes to balancing income distribution, reducing poverty, security, regular and organised crime, porous borders, economic growth, ensuring social inclusion, reducing socioeconomic disparities, mitigating the effects of climate change and recovering from natural disasters. With lenient tax regulations and the threats of organised crime, Latin American countries are at risk of maintaining a state of little social cohesion, a lack of trust in governmental institutions, and an inability to respond to growing demands for quality public services.

Our cooperation work in Latin America is evolving as it keeps up with the quickly changing geopolitical environment there and in the neighbouring Caribbean. An effective partnership with Latin American countries requires flexibility to new and varied needs throughout the region, going beyond a traditional donor-recipient approach.

Some of the more current needs include responding to the demands of a digital and integrated global economy,fighting organised crime, addressing climate change issues and protecting the environment while promoting growth and ensuring fair outcomes for society.

Our main objectives for cooperation with our Latin American partners are:

  • developing innovative cooperation approaches
  • reducing disparities between people
  • promoting sustainable development
  • mitigating climate change
  • advancing higher education and research

Respect for human rights, the rule of law, democracy and other principles of good governance form the backbone of our cooperation with Latin American countries. The European Consensus on Development and the 'EU-LAC: joining forces for a common future' provide the framework for our cooperation.

 

Our programmes

Our regional cooperation programmes are open to all Latin American countries and strengthen our relationship with the region. We provide support through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI).

Bilateral cooperation was discontinued for 8 higher income Latin American countries, namely Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Uruguay, and Venezuela as of 2014. Venezuela and countries affected by the Venezuela crisis benefit since 2018 from humanitarian and emergency support.

The EU Regional programme for Latin America (2014-2020) consists of 2 components, the continental and the subregional, allocating a total of €917.9 million to both.

Regional continental programme

We allot a major part of the funds to the regional continental programme which prioritises:

  • environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation
  • inclusive and sustainable growth for human development
  • higher education
  • a security-development nexus
  • good governance, accountability and social equity
  • support to innovative cooperation approaches including triangular cooperation

Since 2014 the successive annual action plans have allowed to engage in the following cooperation actions between Latin America and the EU:

In addition to these regional actions the ERASMUS+ programme financed by DCI is implemented by the European Commission's department for education and culture.

 

Subregional programme

The EU's commitment to the Central American regional integration process is far-reaching and articulated through the Association Agreement between the EU and Central America. Regional development is supported in priority areas, taking into account the contributions offered by the EU to the Central American countries both bilaterally and via EU member countries.

The subregional component, specifically for Central America focuses on 3 key areas:

  • economic integration in the subregion
  • security and the rule of law
  • climate change mitigation and disaster management