EU-Latin America: New Times, new approaches
There is no denying that there are special links between Latin America and the European Union—Spain in particular. The EU is the largest investor in Latin America, with Spain holding the greatest proportion of investment among EU countries. Recently, we have seen growth in investment in Latin America from this side of the Atlantic, particularly from medium-sized companies and startups. Deep rooted cultural ties, developed over centuries of a complex yet vibrant relationship, have encouraged creativity and innovation in business. In recent years the two regions have expressed their desire to further strengthen ties, owing in part by the uncertainty triggered by a major global crisis. Latin America could perhaps look to the EU as an example of progress led by integration; while Latin America certainly has a lot to teach Europe about managing risk and unforeseen circumstances.
However, it is important to recognize that certain statements regarding our special relationship may be more idealistic than reflective of reality. There is still significant untapped potential to be realized and many misconceptions that need to be confronted. Spain is set to assume the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2023, and one of the aims will be to strengthen the relationship between Europe and Latin America, facilitating and promoting dialogue. At LLYC, we believe that this presents an excellent opportunity to translate good intentions into more substantial, equitable and longer-term initiatives.
We decided to dedicate this issue of UNO to new partnerships between the European Union and Latin America. At LLYC we believe that these ties are more than merely a good idea: they are at the core of our business
With this in mind, we decided to dedicate the 40th edition of UNO magazine to new partnerships between the European Union and Latin America. We collaborated with politicians, executives, journalists, senior officials, intellectuals and LLYC consultants to share their experiences, insights, and ideas in these times of crisis and opportunity. At LLYC, we believe that the ties between Latin America and the EU are more than merely a good idea: they are at the core of our business. Shortly after our founding in Madrid in 1995, we embarked on our first projects in Argentina and Peru, and began opening offices in Lima, Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Panama and other cities. Currently, we have 16 offices in 13 Latin American countries, part of a significant expansion of our activity throughout the region. By year-end 2022, 50 % of LLYC’s operating income came from Latin America and one of the targets defined in our three-year strategic plan is to continue our growth in the region. The establishment of new partnerships between Latin America and the EU is not only the cover story of this magazine: it is our essence.
Juan Carlos Gozzer, CEO of LLYC Latin America, has taken this opportunity to remind us that our two regions are “the most compatible on the planet,” including key aspects of the future economy and global coexistence. These aspects include digitalization, the energy transition, political coordination to address challenges like the emergence of China, the new post-pandemic commercial reality, the need for new raw materials and the existence of war in the heart of Europe. All of this calls on us to be especially inventive and bold. While the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU is a political event, society as a whole, with the business community at the forefront, must commit to holding both European and Latin American representatives accountable. As Spain leads discussions over these six months of its Presidency, we must tackle issues such as the agreement on Mercosur, European investments in the region and the need for cooperation to mitigate the most negative aspects of extractivism.
LLYC is pleased to witness Spanish diplomatic efforts embrace this role and commitment to making more creative and sustainable links, as it has done throughout history. These changing times call for new partnerships
Between the conception and publication of this magazine, Spain will have conducted general elections, which may result in a parliamentary majority and change of government. We speculated how this could potentially influence the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU. It was immediately determined, however, that apart from political changes, there are two cross-cutting factors shared by almost all Spanish society: Europeanism and the perception of a special relationship with Latin America.
“The European integration project is essential for Europe,” Moisés Naím told me in a conversation that we will look at a little later in this publication, adding that, “the potential of an integrated Latin America is huge, giving rise to great hopes that to date have gone unfulfilled.” It is time to embrace both ideas: A united Europe and Latin America that realize their massive potential, in addition to a growing influence between the two regions. LLYC is pleased to witness Spanish diplomatic efforts embrace this role and commitment to making more creative and sustainable links, as it has done throughout history. These changing times call for new partnerships, including in the field of communication.