CAF's manager for Europe, Asia and the Middle East participated in the seminar "Now more than ever, the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean, two strategic partners. Why does the EU need this alliance?

Ignacio Corlazzoli: "We want to bring together 33 Ibero-American leaders with 27 Europeans in Spain"

CAF ignacio corlazzoli

The war in Ukraine and the pandemic have dented the regional integration process necessary for the development of the continent in Latin America and the Caribbean. In this context, it is essential to strengthen international institutions as the engine of a multilateralism capable of facing the challenges of a hostile world. Such relations require a strong Euro-Latin American union, in order to build a space of unlimited possibilities to transform the region's reality.

This was the starting point of the III High Level Seminar held in the European Parliament on 29 September by the EuroAmerica Foundation and EuroLat, in collaboration with the Development Bank of Latin America - CAF -, the Inter-American Development Bank - IDB - and the Ibero-American General Secretariat.

The event was presented by Javi López, President of the EuroLat Assembly of the European Parliament; Myriam Ferrán, Deputy Director General of the European Commission's Directorate General for International Partnerships; and Ramón Jáuregui, President of the EuroAmerica Foundation.

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The three experts highlighted the need to strengthen relations between America and Europe, in a context of binary logic of dispute between the United States and China, which threatens to leave Europe and Latin America in a marginal position, and turn them from 'players' into 'playgrounds'. The seminar's introducers hope that the Spanish EU presidency will give a boost to these relations.

The seminar began with a first panel entitled "Integration and multilateralism, keys to the recovery and development of Latin America and the Caribbean. Cooperation with the European Union". Ignacio Corlazzoli, Manager for Europe, Asia and the Middle East at CAF, Development Bank of Latin America, participated in the panel. He was joined by Pablo Grinspun, Ambassador of Argentina to the EU; Eric Parrado, Chief Economist of the Inter-American Development Bank; and moderated by José Ignacio Salafranca, Vice-President of the Euroamerica Foundation.

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In his speech, Ignacio Corlazzoli highlighted the Spanish government's strong desire to strengthen relations with Latin America, an objective for which it can count on CAF. "We at CAF are pleased to be able to support the Spanish presidency that is coming up in the next six months. Spain has the audacity to reconvene a space for political dialogue after eight years without it. From CAF, we have proposed to take advantage of the spaces prior to the ECOFIN summit in Santiago de Compostela, where the 27 European Finance Ministers will meet. There we will bring the 33 CELAC Finance Ministers. 60 ministers. A third of the size of the International Monetary Fund", said Ignacio Corlazzoli in his turn to speak.

Corlazzoli also assured that CAF intends to submit a White Paper to the Spanish presidency of the European Union in which they want to look for ways to leverage greater resources for the region. "We want to be more ambitious and seek more ambitious answers. From CAF we want to propose something similar to what was done during the African summit: the use of the drawing rights of the Monetary Fund, talking to the European Central Bank to use a guarantee. That's 40 billion that it has between the United States and European countries. As a guarantee for climate change operations", concluded Ignacio Corlazzoli, who also reiterated his intention to be the main partner of the Spanish Presidency of the EU.

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The speakers at this round table also discussed the trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur, "an agreement that has given rise to an unusual situation", in the words of the moderator José Ignacio Salafranca, due to its long process that has not yet been concluded with ratification, despite being "the most important trade liberalisation pact on the planet". For the Argentinean ambassador to the EU, the differences between the Latin American and European agendas are perhaps the main obstacle. "Even when there is no difference in agendas, they are not the same priorities or urgencies", commented Ambassador Pablo Grinspun.

For his part, Ignacio Corlazzoli stressed that in those 20 years of negotiating the agreement, there has not been enough progress in the Latin American region in terms of intra-regional trade.  "Although we have reduced tariffs, we have gone from 12 to 7% in that 20-year period, this is not enough and is due to the lack of agreement between the three large economies of the continent, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil". Corlazzoli assured that there is still a lot of work ahead, especially in improving global value chains.

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In the second round table of the seminar, entitled "The ecological transition as a goal and digitalisation as a tool. How this transition lands in strategic sectors: agriculture, energy and aeronautics. Experience in Latin America", the speakers were Andrea Meza, deputy executive secretary of the UNCCD; Jorge Rodríguez Romero, head of unit for Global Cooperation on the Environment and Multilateralism; and Luis Cabra, head of Constituent Assembly at Airbus. The round table was moderated and presented by the Latam director of Llorente y Cuenca, Claudio Vallejo.

After a closing speech by Javier Niño, Deputy Managing Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service, a brief networking session was held between participants and attendees, many of them members of diplomatic delegations and MEPs.