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Why Europe and Latin America Need Each Other

In a world of giants, the EU and Mercosur together represent just 10% of the world’s population and 20% of global GDP. If either wants to wield global influence, it needs the other, making the EU-Mercosur trade agreement a strategic imperative.

BRUSSELS – In the more dangerous and unpredictable multipolar world in which we now live, trade relations remain of seminal importance. But they cannot be separated from geopolitics. Many Europeans long believed that they could be, but Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has highlighted the risks raised by the European Union’s dependence on Russian gas and shown us that this approach is no longer tenable.

If the EU wants to be recognized as a true geopolitical actor, strengthening our internal unity will not be enough. We must also recalibrate our strategic compass, using our political and economic instruments more coherently and identifying not only risks but also opportunities more effectively. This is why I have argued from the beginning of my mandate that Europe must deepen its ties to the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

To make the qualitative leap we need, we will have to strengthen political dialogue at the highest level. But to ensure that our efforts are credible, we must also complete the modernization of existing association agreements with Mexico and Chile, sign the negotiated post-Cotonou agreement with the African, Caribbean, and Pacific community, ratify the association agreement with Central American countries, and finalize the EU-Mercosur agreement.

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