Europe’s long-term relationship with the US has hit a rocky patch and a number of trysts in the East haven’t met expectations. But there’s life in the Old Continent yet, just look at its blooming love affair with Latin America.
When a relationship is circling the plughole, it’s difficult to imagine life going on afterwards. But Europe has put down the tub of Ben & Jerry’s, changed out of its pyjamas and got back out there.
Thanks to Europe’s Spanish wingman, who has helped make the introductions and overcome the language barrier, the love affair with Latin America is starting to heat up. And it appears to be ticking all the boxes already…
Being willing to change is often important in a relationship and today the Commission shared some updates on its Mexico and Mercosur trade talks.Transparency is the new sexy.
It’s all very exciting and the EU has vowed to tie the knot on both deals by the end of the year.
Brazil has also teamed up with the EU to reform farm subsidies at WTO level. Colombia, Peru and Uruguay have supported it already.
Communication is, of course, high on the list, which is why we’re laying an undersea cable across the Atlantic directly to Brazil.
Spending time with each other is also crucial and a number of bilateral deals mean many Latin Americans can enter Schengen without a visa. Bolivia wants a piece of that action too.
Sharing interests is vital. The US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement showed that we no longer see eye-to-eye on the climate. Latin America’s big emitters, on the other hand, were quick to ratify the deal.
Nicaragua may be one of only three countries not signed up to the landmark agreement (along with the US and war-torn Syria) but that’s not because it’s in love with fossil fuels. It’s because its leaders decided that the agreement was too weak.
Asking for help is key too. EU firefighters were hailed as heroes when they helped tackle deadly blazes in Chile earlier this year. Brussels was also instrumental in helping Colombia broker its FARC peace deal.
Declarations of love go a long way. EU development chief Stefano Manservisi pledged recently not to “abandon” Latin America. Argentina’s foreign minister also proclaimed Mercosur’s “commitment” to a trade deal with the EU by the end of the year.
And, last but not least, patience can make or break a relationship. The EU is holding off on sanctioning Venezuela after Federica Mogherini said there is still time to negotiate an end to mass unrest.
It could be a match made in heaven. Two parts of the world united by history, culture, language and, more often than not, values.
If things keep moving at this pace, even if the US does come crawling back, it’ll be too little, too late. It’s nice to see Europe moving on.
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Vogue magazine has acknowledged what we all already know: that Brussels is a damn fine place to call home.
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The college of Commissioners will talk hybrid threats. Employment ministers will meet in Estonia to discuss work-life balance.
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