Reading suggestion: ‘EU Foreign Policy towards Latin America’

Interested in EU-Latin America relations?2016-week 04_cover-EU Foreign policy towards Latin America

Then the recent book ‘EU Foreign Policy towards Latin America‘ written by Professor Roberto Dominguez is just what you need! And it is now available at the Council Central Library. We believe this book will be very useful to all those who have a keen interest in EU-Latin America relations.

One can say that Europe’s relationship with Latin America began in 1492 when Christopher Columbus, believing he had reached the East Indies, first set foot on an island that he named ‘San Salvador’. Though Columbus was not the first European to reach Latin America, his voyage of ‘discovery’ marked the beginning of our continent’s relationship with the New World.

That relationship is deeply rooted in the history of the two regions: cultural ties, common languages and, above all, a set of values shared by both societies. EU-Latin America relations have also been influenced by successive EU enlargements. The 1986 accession of Portugal and Spain to the then European Communities intensified the partnership.

This book seeks to analyse the relations between the two geographical areas. It is composed of seven chapters, all of which are rich in content, well-argued and written in a manner that is accessible to the general reader.

Chapter 1 looks at the main concepts surrounding the process of regionalism and integration. It argues that the EU-Latin American relationship meets the definition of ‘hybrid inter-regionalism’, which is characterised by low interdependence, asymmetry and a neo-liberal setting.

Chapter 2 examines the main components of the EU system of external relations in order to identify the central EU actors and institutions participating in the design and implementation of policies towards Latin America. It also deals with the policies being implemented by the European Union and divides them into two groups: (i) EU external policies applied in all regions, including Latin America; and (ii) EU policies exclusively directed at Latin America.

Chapter 3 concentrates on the region-to-region level of interaction which has involved more than 60 heads of state or government from both regions since the first bi-regional summit took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1999. Summits generate ties and strategic visions. They present an opportunity to take the pulse of the EU-Latin American agenda, and provide a flexible overarching framework for policy design and action on inter-regional cooperation.

Chapters 4 and 5 look at seven cases where the European Union and individual countries or sub-regions have been able to further the agenda of cooperation. Chapter 4 presents the cases of Mexico, Chile and Central America, and explains why, despite outstanding differences, they have reached association agreements with the EU. Chapter 5 discusses the cases of Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, where the European Union and some of its South American partners decided to enhance their bilateral agendas using alternative strategies.

Chapter 6 focuses on three Latin American sub-regions that symbolise the complexity of the region-to-sub-region dialogues (Mercosur, CARIFORUM and the Andean Community). As the author acknowledges, ‘[…] the main challenge for Latin American regional organizations has been their lack of cohesion in international negotiations derived from the institutional weaknesses of their integration processes. […]’.

Finally, in Chapter 7, the author presents three countries (Cuba, Venezuela and Argentina) which have seen more limited progress in their relationship with the European Union.

The Central Library cannot recommend this book highly enough. We hope that it will be widely read!

  • The Central Library located in the Justus Lipsius building, at JL 02 GH, Rue de la Loi 175, 1048 Brussels (Froissart entrance) – Opening hours Monday to Friday 11.00 – 15.00. It is open to all staff of the Council of the European Union and the European Council, trainees, Permanent Representations of Member States, staff of other EU Institutions and bodies, as well as to researchers and students (upon appointment by e-mail at central.library@consilium.europa.eu). Access to some Library holdings might be restricted to on-site consultation.

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