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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 21 July 2014

EU cooperation with Latin America

Regional Cooperation with Latin America

The EU has over 18 years of experience of regional cooperation in Latin America. Between 2007- 2013 the EU provided €556 million for regional funds, spent in the areas of social cohesion, water management, socio-economic development, higher education and information society, amongst others.

At the EUROsociAL conference in Brussels on 24th and 25th March, European Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, announced new EU support of at least €2.4 billion for Latin America for the years 2014 to 2020, which is part of the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). This is to be spent on the areas of security, good governance, accountability and social equity, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, environmental sustainability, resilience and climate change, and Erasmus+.

18 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela) are covered by the DCI and eligible for these regional funds.

EU Cooperation with Peru and Ecuador

Ecuador:

• With a population of approximately 15.5 million, Ecuador is the most densely populated country in South America and is classified as an upper middle income country.

• Ecuador is the third fastest growing economy in Latin America (5.2% in 2012), with the lowest unemployment rate (4.86% in 2013) in the region globally.

• Economic growth in Ecuador has been inclusive, which has directly reduced poverty and inequality levels and increased the middle class.

• Between 2006 and 2013, income poverty (using the national poverty line) fell from 37.6% to 25.5% whereas extreme poverty declined from 16.9% to 8.6%.

• However, significant challenges remain in terms of the sustainability of these achievements in reducing poverty and inequality and in ensuring sustainable, inclusive growth.

• More than half of the Ecuadorian population continues to live in poverty or is vulnerable to again falling below the poverty line.

Between 2007 and 2013, the EU committed €140.6m to Ecuador:

The main policies supported were education (€75.2 million) and economic growth (€65.4 million).

In education, the EU support contributed to a substantial increase in access to general basic education, with, by the end of 2013, more than 95% of children of school age attending schools.

Peru:

• Peru has the fifth-largest population (29.733 million) in Latin America (behind Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina) and it covers an area of 1.3 million square metres. It is classified as a high middle income country.

• The main social indicators for Peru show positive progress, but also reveal a persistence of inequality. Although national poverty rate decreased from 45% in 2006 to 25.8% in 2012, rural Andean zone poverty level remains at 53%.

• The Peruvian economy remains largely based on the extraction and export of raw materials, mainly minerals and gas. This does not only make the country structurally vulnerable to external demand and supply shocks in global markets but can also feed discontent and social conflicts.

Between 2007 and 2013, the EU committed €135m to Peru:

The main areas of support were drug policies and social inclusion.

In 2013, the European Commission adopted €32.2 million of funding in Sector Budget Support to the National anti-Drugs Strategy. The first fixed tranche of €8 million will be disbursed during the Commissioner's visit.

Support for social inclusion has been one of the main targets of the EU cooperation with Peru in the past decade. The creation of a new Ministry of Social Inclusion and the creation of a special fund fostering result-oriented social inclusion programmes are good examples of these efforts on the part of the Government.

Regional projects in Peru and Ecuador

  1. ALFA III

ALFA III supports the modernisation of Higher Education in Latin America in order to promote sustainable and equitable development in the region, through the creation of networks between universities in the region.

In this regard, ALFA III contributes to building the EU-Latin American's Common Higher Education Area, recognised as a strategic element for strengthening bilateral and multilateral relations between the two regions. With a budget of €75m for the period 2007-2013, the programme as financed 51 projects fostering cooperation and networking among nearly 500 universities. More than 18 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) from Peru participate in the 14 approved projects of ALFA III. In Ecuador, at least 19 Higher Education Institutions take part.

  1. EUROsociAL- Flagship programme for social cohesion in Latin America

EUROsociAL is a programme designed to increase social cohesion, bringing together political decision-makers and high-level public servants from European and Latin American public administrations to develop and implement policies to reduce social inequalities.

The total EU contribution amounts to €70 million (€30 million during its first phase (2004-2009) and €40 million during the second one (2011-2014). It actively fosters ‘South-South’ cooperation in Latin America (i.e. when knowledge based on previous cooperation and adjusted to the specific conditions in a neighbouring country has been transferred from one Latin American country to another) – spending on which is expected to top €10 million during the programme’s second phase.

Some tangible examples from Peru and Bolivia include helping former prisoners to reintegrate into society, supporting the National Professional Qualification Systems and monitoring equity of access to healthcare and medicines.

More examples of regional cooperation projects are available here.

For more information:

IP/14/853: EU Commissioner announces significant new funding for Peru during visit


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