28th Sep 2023


EU aims to revive cooperation with Latin America This WEEK

  • Disagreements over the condemnation of Russia’s war in Ukraine have complicated the finalisation of the joint agreement (Photo: European Union)
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EU leaders will gather in Brussels with the leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean region on Monday and Tuesday (17 and 18 July), after eight years of hiatus.

Investment in the region, cooperation to combat climate change, open trade agreements with Mercosur, Chile and Mexico as well as the ongoing war of Russia in Ukraine are expected to be high on the agenda.

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But disagreements over the condemnation of Russia's war in Ukraine have complicated the finalisation of the joint agreement, which is still being drafted.

Nevertheless, the EU-CELAC summit has been described by an EU official as a "historic moment" to revitalize the relationship between both sides of the Atlantic.

The expected major participation from the Latin American and Caribbean leaders, the official said, shows the political willingness to cooperate and "the process of rapprochement" between both regions.

Despite calls from the EU parliament to veto the participation of Venezuela in the EU-CELAC summit, representatives from Caracas are expected to attend the meeting since this will be an "inclusive summit," another official said.

Under the existing protocol, it is the forum of CELAC that invites all countries in the region.

Ahead of the summit, the European Commission will organise a business unit to discuss investment opportunities and projects in the region.

The EU's Global Gateway is "one of the big deliverables" of the summit, an official also said, adding that the EU Commission and the European Investment Bank have increased their contribution by up to €10bn.

But some member states are also expected to come forward with their own announcements for the investment agenda on Monday.

Meanwhile, a total of 108 projects in the region for infrastructure investments will be unveiled during the summit, the official said.

The last EU-CELAC summit took place in 2015.

In this context, the EU Commission is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with Uruguay to boost cooperation on renewable energy and green hydrogen. The EU has already a similar partnership with Argentina.

Meanwhile, EU foreign affairs meetings will meet on Thursday (20 July) to discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine, and relations with Turkey — especially in the context of Sweden's Nato membership and the Black Sea Grain Initiative which is due to expire on Monday.

Media and Migration

On Tuesday, MEPs in the civil liberties committee will vote on the European Media Freedom Act — a draft law aiming at protecting media pluralism and independence in the EU.

EU member states have already achieved a consensus on the draft legislation, wherein France, supported by other countries, has introduced a new provision allowing for an exception to the ban deploying spyware against journalists in the name of "national security."

On the same day, MEPs in the civil liberties committee are also set to discuss the ongoing work of the EU agency Frontex in light of the recent drownings in the Mediterranean Sea.

The discussion will be based on the outcome of the fact-finding investigation carried out by a committee-specific working group. This was set up in early 2021 in the wake of reports of abuse by Frontex and an Olaf investigation — which led to the resignation of the agency's executive director, Fabrice Leggeri, in April 2022.

Additionally, members of the civil liberties committee and those from the foreign affairs committee will also have an exchange of views with EU migration commissioner Ylva Johansson about the controversial EU-Tunisia deal in the field of migration.

Meanwhile, EU justice and home affairs ministers on Thursday and Friday (20 and 21 July) will meet in Spain to prepare upcoming trilogue meetings on the migration and asylum pact.

Energy and STEP

On Monday and Tuesday, EU ministers for fisheries will meet in an informal council in Vigo, Spain, to discuss the decarbonisation of the fisheries sector.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on Tuesday will present MEPs in the environment committee a risk assessment of the impact of pesticides on bee populations — which have been in decline at an unprecedented rate for several years.

In addition, MEPs will discuss with EFSA its findings on the risk assessment of the controversial herbicide glyphosate — a weedkiller that can cause cancer and other health problems according to studies.

On Wednesday (19 July), MEPs from the budget committee will hold a debate with EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton over the budgetary needs for the EU's defence policy in the context of the war in Ukraine.

MEPs from the trade and budget committee will also then hear from the commission about the new Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP) for which the commission is asking EU member states for an additional €10bn for 2024-27 to reach a total of €160bn in investment in the coming years.

Also on Wednesday, EU officials will meet with representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss ongoing events, in the context of its EU membership bid.

Final push for EU-Mercosur deal, amid deforestation fears

Finalising the EU-Mercosur agreement is a priority for the EU and the upcoming Spanish EU council presidency, ahead of the summit with Latin America and the Caribbean countries to be held in Brussels on 17 and 18 July.

China trade tension and migration deal This WEEK

An EU-China high-level economic is scheduled on Monday amid renewed tensions. Later this week, EU home affairs ministers will discuss the EU-Tunisia deal and the state of play of the EU pact on asylum and migration.


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