Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

The EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) together account for 21% of world GDP. In the framework of the Ecofin, its economic and finance ministers want to make progress on the Global Gateway investment agenda.

The informal ministerial meeting on economic and financial affairs (Ecofin) will bring together some 50 ministers in Santiago de Compostela – 20 of them from Latin America – with the aim of strengthening partnerships with the region, taking advantage of Spain’s privileged position as a bridge between the two continents.

The Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU has sought to prioritise relations with Latin America and the Caribbean by organising high-level meetings such as this Ecofin meeting in Santiago and the EU-CELAC summit held in Brussels in July.

Bilateral trade has grown by 39% since 2013, and EU investment in Latin America and the Caribbean has increased by more than 45% since that time.

Within the Spanish presidency’s plan to contribute to intensifying Europe’s strategic autonomy in five areas (energy, agri-food, industry, technology and digital), the deepening of economic and trade ties with CELAC plays a key role.

Strategic investments

The meetings on Friday 15 September between the EU-27 finance and economy ministers and their CELAC counterparts are organised in collaboration with CAF-Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean and will focus on a common theme: “Towards a Global Green and Digital Economy”.

Ministers will address the Global Gateway investment agenda agreed by EU and CELAC leaders at last July’s summit, a key tool to strengthen bilateral cooperation and seize opportunities for sustainable and inclusive growth.

This is an investment commitment of €45 billion to support the strengthened partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean until 2027 in key sectors such as energy, transport, infrastructure, digital, health, education and research, among others, and for which Spain will contribute €9.4 billion.

There are 130 public-private investment projects on the table involving common areas and priorities such as green hydrogen, sustainable transport and the protection of the Amazon.

The challenge is for this strategic agenda to be a success, going beyond the Spanish semester with a mechanism that allows for periodic monitoring of investments and their impact.

The Global Gateway agenda seeks to “mobilise both public finance and private capital for sustainable development, including digital transformation, education, health infrastructure, energy production, environmental perspectives, raw materials and local value chains”, according to the EU-CELAC summit joint declaration.

Global financial security network

The second working session between EU and CELAC ministers will be devoted to the debate on reforming the global financial architecture, an issue that is already being discussed in different spheres such as the G20 and the United Nations.

Given the difficult geopolitical situation and the growing financing needs of vulnerable countries, maintaining a strong and effective global financial safety net is now more necessary than ever.

In this context, ministers will be invited to consider ways to take the discussion forwards at the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in Marrakech in October.

For the Spanish presidency, this meeting in Santiago is an important step to move forwards together with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, players in the global financial system.

In the joint declaration signed at the EU-CELAC summit, both sides recognised that it is “essential to have a fair, inclusive and effective multilateral system that allocates adequate resources to sustainable development, responds to the specific needs of the most vulnerable countries, strengthens the level of participation and ensures the representation of developing countries”.

They also committed to recognising and exploring “the need to use criteria other than GDP, for example climate vulnerability, to determine the eligibility of countries to access concessional finance”, pledging to “seek to provide a financial stimulus so that no country has to choose between fighting poverty and protecting the planet”.

Source – Spanish EU Presidency

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