30th Nov 2022

Business and cocaine top EU-Bolivian talks

Brussels has announced that the EU will support Bolivian president-elect Evo Morale’s administration, but also notes that EU investments in Bolivia must be respected in Mr Morales’ eager moves to re-nationalise Bolivia’s rich energy reserves.

Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales, currently on a world-wide tour, started his official visit to Belgium on Thursday (5 January), and met with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana to discuss his intentions for Bolivia’s political future.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

At the meeting, Mr Solana urged Mr Morales to safeguard economic stability and judicial security to preserve EU investments in his country.

"Legal security is fundamental. This is a country in need of money from abroad", Mr Solana told Brussels reporters, but added that his meeting with Mr Morales had been "positive".

Mr Morales, set to become the first Indian leader in Bolivia's 180-year history, won the elections in December on a pledge to nationalise energy resources, appealing foremost to the poor, Indian working class who want more rights and access to the country's means of growth.

Mr Morales' statements on nationalising his country's energy reserves as the key to wiping out poverty, caused concern among companies with interests in the Latin-American country, fearing that their businesses might suffer the consequences of such a move.

In Brussels, Mr Morales intended to soothe EU concerns from foreign investors in Bolivia, saying that even after nationalisation, the exploitation of oil and gas resources would be carried out in partnerships with commercial businesses.

"We would like the oil companies to be partners, but not to be owners. We want to control the companies, so we are going to nationalise the companies."

EU fears Morales coca-plant plans

In Brussels, Mr Solana also asked Mr Morales for explanations as to what kind of drug fighting policy his administration will take on, in order to judge whether the EU can, or can not, work together with Bolivia on the matter.

The future fight against drug trafficking became a matter of deep concern for the EU during the Bolivian election campaign, following statements by Mr Morales that he would legalise the coca-plant and look for ‘alternative’ uses for the leaf.

Mr Solana said that such a policy could very well "transform into production of narco-trafficking", adding that any unilateral decision to increase acreage limits to satisfy legal consumption would have damaging consequences for Bolivia.

In Bolivia, the world’s third coca grower after Colombia and Peru, production of coca has increased by 35% from 2003, according to the UN World Drug Report.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Socialists opposed parliament taking Qatar rights stand

The socialists in the European Parliament are leading compromise talks on human rights in Qatar despite voting against putting the issue to a plenary vote. The move comes after the Left demanded that the European Parliament take a stand.

No top EU officials going to Qatar World Cup

None of the four top EU officials are going to the Qatar World Cup amid a stink on human rights, but some are more brave than others in criticising the gas-rich emirate.

Moldova hit by spillover of Russia's war

Last week, the EU pledged €250m to help Moldova tackle the energy crisis consisting of €100m in loans, another €100m in grants, and €50m directed to help the most vulnerable citizens.

News in Brief

  1. 'Pro-Kremlin group' in EU Parliament cyberattack
  2. Ukraine will decide on any peace talks, Borrell says
  3. Germany blocks sale of chip factory to Chinese subsidiary
  4. Strikes and protests over cost-of-living grip Greece, Belgium
  5. Liberal MEPs want Musk quizzed in parliament
  6. Bulgarian policeman shot dead at Turkish border
  7. 89 people allowed to disembark in Italy, aid group says
  8. UN chief tells world: Cooperate on climate or perish

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  2. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  3. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs
  4. Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?
  5. Why the EU asbestos directive revision ... needs revising
  6. Nato renews membership vow to Ukraine
  7. Catalan spyware victims demand justice
  8. Is the overwhelming critique of Qatar hypocritical?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us