There are as many paths to Santiago de Compostela as there are pilgrims, because they all form a unique journey between ancient paths that come to life under the gaze, challenges and illusions of new hikers.
In September, high-level European, Latin American and Caribbean financial authorities will undertake a new trip to Santiago from each of their respective capitals, with a common goal: to take relations between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean to another level, both from a commercial perspective economic, cooperative and geopolitical.
This path, which the first vice-president of the Spanish government, Nadia Calviño, called “from Santiago (Chile) to Santiago (de Compostela)”, will lead her to participate on September 15 in the first meeting of the 60 Ministers of Economy and Finance of the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean. The meeting, organized by the Spanish government and the CAF – Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean – aims to mark a before and after in relations between the two blocs.
Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe need each other more than ever to face the diverse global challenges, and to do so must complement their relationships, which have been irregular and bilateral for years (European countries have concluded agreements with certain Latin American countries on the basis of specific interests) . . , for example in certain raw materials), with bloc relations where Europeans see the region as a whole and where the region acts with one voice.
As European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen suggested at the EU-CELAC business meeting organized by the EC, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and CAF in Brussels last July, the new Transatlantic relations must have a bi-regional perspective.
During the meeting in Brussels, the European Commission also announced that the so-called “Team Europe” will mobilize 45 billion euros by 2027 to help reduce poverty and inequality in the region, promote cooperation for a green and fair transition and to join forces for a shared future Digital transformation that increases the chances for more inclusive and sustainable growth within the Global Gateway Initiative (the EU’s global cooperation and investment platform) in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The announcement of European investments presented a list of 136 projects pre-identified by financial institutions based in Latin America and the Caribbean and prioritized from countries with the EU. Beyond geopolitics and economic diplomacy, these are projects that will improve the lives of people in Latin America and the Caribbean. CAF has mapped 67 initiatives that will, for example, help bring connectivity to 85% of Colombians by 2026; produce hydrogen in Chile and Uruguay; Accelerating sustainable mobility in San José, Quito, Bogotá, Montevideo and Sao Paulo; massive expansion of renewable energy in Jamaica; and combating chronic malnutrition among children across Ecuador.
In addition, investments in the Caribbean will be made in the Blue Green Bank, the first development bank specifically focused on maintaining the health of the oceans, improving the living conditions of populations on continental coasts and islands, and promoting sustainability across all productive chains .
This unprecedented mobilization of cooperation resources, together with high-quality investments, demonstrates the EU’s new political commitment to take trade and economic relations with the region to a new level. We have a huge opportunity to unite and move forward. The fight against climate change, for example, offers an opportunity for investment and innovation around new materials, renewable energies, digital services, electromobility and a new role of natural resources with technology transfer and strengthening of the agricultural industry.
As CAF Executive President Sergio Díaz-Granados explained, the Global Gateway Initiative offers development banks a unique opportunity to accelerate coordination and agreements between the EU and each of the multilateral and regional cooperation entities, as well as with the private sector, to ensure that the current initiative does not remain just announcements.
Latin America and the Caribbean have a proven ability to propose winning ideas, solutions and courses of action with high global impact. That’s why we develop innovative financial instruments such as guarantees, insurance, financial protection and debt swaps for nature conservation and the better use of special drawing rights. We will count on European partners.
We have the institutional knowledge, agility and capacity to act bolder together in creating innovative financial instruments that will accompany countries on this journey, responding to the call for a new global financial compact at the Summit held in Paris last June. a dialogue that will continue at the Finance in Common summit to be held next week in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean are compatible in their values, their development vision and their understanding of the world. We are a common product of history. Our struggles for democracy and social movements go hand in hand. We live a common essence. Less poverty and exclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean means a better world for Europe, a safer and more sustainable world.
“Europe was created through pilgrimage,” wrote the German writer and thinker Goethe in the 19th century. It is time for Latin America and the Caribbean to join this route as travel companions. There are many paths that serve the pilgrimage, but from milestone to milestone, from peak to peak, all roads lead to Santiago.
Ignacio Corlazzoli Hughes He is Head of the Europe, Asia and Middle East Office of CAF – Development Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean.