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Chile: the government struggles to implement its reform programme

25-04-2019

Chile is a close partner of the EU in Latin America. The EU and Chile have a mutual interest in pursuing even closer ties, leading them to agree to upgrade and modernise the Association Agreement signed in 2002. They started negotiations on a modernised agreement in November 2017. President Sebastián Piñera's centre-right government took office in March 2018. Politically, the situation of the Mapuche indigenous community and stricter migration policies have dominated its first year. The government ...

Chile is a close partner of the EU in Latin America. The EU and Chile have a mutual interest in pursuing even closer ties, leading them to agree to upgrade and modernise the Association Agreement signed in 2002. They started negotiations on a modernised agreement in November 2017. President Sebastián Piñera's centre-right government took office in March 2018. Politically, the situation of the Mapuche indigenous community and stricter migration policies have dominated its first year. The government has also tabled comprehensive proposals for tax and pension reform but has found it difficult to implement its reform programme. This is largely because it lacks a majority in Congress and faces a much more diverse political landscape than in the past, making it more difficult to gain broad support for its proposals. However, it has benefited from a robust economic recovery that started in 2018 after two years of sluggish growth. Under President Piñera, Chile has adopted a tough stance against the Venezuelan government, in line with other centre-right governments in South America. Chile played a key role in the launch in March 2019 of the new organisation for regional cooperation, the Forum for the Progress of South America (Foro para el Progreso de América del Sur, PROSUR).

Lotynų Amerika ir Karibų jūros regionas

01-01-2018

ES su Lotynų Amerika ir Karibų jūros regionu sieja daugialypiai, įvairiais lygmenimis palaikomi santykiai. ES bendrauja su visu regionu rengdama valstybių ir vyriausybių vadovų aukščiausiojo lygio susitikimus, sudarydama susitarimus ir vykdydama politinį dialogą su Karibų jūros regionu, Centrine Amerika, Andų bendrija, MERCOSUR ir atskiromis šalimis.

ES su Lotynų Amerika ir Karibų jūros regionu sieja daugialypiai, įvairiais lygmenimis palaikomi santykiai. ES bendrauja su visu regionu rengdama valstybių ir vyriausybių vadovų aukščiausiojo lygio susitikimus, sudarydama susitarimus ir vykdydama politinį dialogą su Karibų jūros regionu, Centrine Amerika, Andų bendrija, MERCOSUR ir atskiromis šalimis.

Sakharov Prize Finalists 2017

04-12-2017

Short presentation of two Sakharov Prize Finalists 2017.

Short presentation of two Sakharov Prize Finalists 2017.

EU-Cuba relations: a new chapter begins

18-07-2017

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence ...

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence can already be applied provisionally, but the agreement will only enter into force in full after it has been ratified in all the EU Member States. Since negotiations on the PDCA began in 2014, Cuba’s relations with the EU and individual Member States have intensified considerably. For the EU, the PDCA is a tool for supporting a process of change and modernisation in Cuba, while for Cuba it represents the ‘normalisation’ of the relationship with an important economic and trade partner and helps it to diversify its external relations. Parliament will focus, in monitoring the implementation of the PDCA, on two areas of particular concern to the EP: human rights and civil liberties on Cuba, and the role of Cuban civil society.

Argentina: A Change of Course

25-11-2015

On 22 November 2015, Mauricio Macri, candidate of a coalition named 'Let's change' (Cambiemos), was elected president of Argentina. He will assume office on 10 December. Macri received 51.4 % of the vote in the second round of the presidential elections. His election ends 12 years of Peronist governments. Macri's victory owes much to the high number of votes he received in urban centres, particularly in the capital Buenos Aires and the second largest city, Córdoba. Despite Macri's final victory in ...

On 22 November 2015, Mauricio Macri, candidate of a coalition named 'Let's change' (Cambiemos), was elected president of Argentina. He will assume office on 10 December. Macri received 51.4 % of the vote in the second round of the presidential elections. His election ends 12 years of Peronist governments. Macri's victory owes much to the high number of votes he received in urban centres, particularly in the capital Buenos Aires and the second largest city, Córdoba. Despite Macri's final victory in the presidential elections, the 25 October parliamentary and provincial polls showed that the Peronist movement remains the principal political force. After the 25 October Congress elections, the Front for Victory (Frente para la Victoria, FpV), currently in government, remains the largest bloc in the new Congress, although it lost its absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies. Macri faces the challenge of mobilising support in Congress for the new government's legislative proposals. The most likely scenario is that he will try to establish a coalition with the Peronist factions opposed to President Cristina Fernández and the FpV. The new government is likely to take measures to liberalise and open up the economy. The new government will seek strengthened links with the USA and the EU, and may well push for trade liberalisation in Mercosur. Macri has announced that he will ask for Mercosur's 'democratic clause' to be invoked against Venezuela. Macri has stressed the need to advance towards a Mercosur-EU free trade agreement. Overall, the change of government appears an opportunity for renewed relations between the EU and Argentina.

Cuba, the USA and the EU: Forging Closer Ties, Looking to the Future

30-09-2015

On 1 July 2015, Cuba and the United States of America (USA) re-established formal diplomatic links, the culmination so far of the ground-breaking changes that have taken place in relations between the two countries since December 2014. At the same time, relations between Cuba and the EU are enjoying unprecedented momentum. The change in Cuba-US relations and the strengthening of the EU's links with Cuba represent two processes that are different in nature and scope. Despite the changes in US-Cuba ...

On 1 July 2015, Cuba and the United States of America (USA) re-established formal diplomatic links, the culmination so far of the ground-breaking changes that have taken place in relations between the two countries since December 2014. At the same time, relations between Cuba and the EU are enjoying unprecedented momentum. The change in Cuba-US relations and the strengthening of the EU's links with Cuba represent two processes that are different in nature and scope. Despite the changes in US-Cuba relations, full 'normalisation' remains a distant prospect, mostly due to the US economic embargo against Cuba which is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future. In contrast, the EU and its Member States – which have full diplomatic, economic and cooperation relations with Cuba – have moved closer than at any time before to the conclusion of a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) with Cuba. Both the US government and the EU recognise that stronger links with Cuba will not spark any immediate transformation of the country or lead to rapid political changes or democratic opening. In this regard, the policies to promote closer relations with Cuba, including the conclusion of an EU-Cuba PDCA, could be characterised as an investment in the future.

Brazil: Promises of More Change – But in Which Direction?

22-10-2014

On 26 October 2014, almost 142 million voters will elect Brazil's president for the next four years. The elections take place against a backdrop of economic stagnation and widespread discontent with inadequate public services and the political system, highlighted by social protests in 2013. After a decade of economic and social progress, and a parallel rise in the country's global stature, the sustainability of the country's last two decades of achievements is increasingly questioned. Facing these ...

On 26 October 2014, almost 142 million voters will elect Brazil's president for the next four years. The elections take place against a backdrop of economic stagnation and widespread discontent with inadequate public services and the political system, highlighted by social protests in 2013. After a decade of economic and social progress, and a parallel rise in the country's global stature, the sustainability of the country's last two decades of achievements is increasingly questioned. Facing these challenges, all major political forces have advocated 'change' in the run-up to the October elections. There are strong expectations that the government that takes over on 1 January 2015 will initiate a new phase in Brazil's social, economic and political development. The new government will have to address demands to renew the political system and to implement reforms to make the economy more competitive and capable of generating the growth needed to continue improving social conditions.

The Pacific Alliance: Regional Integration or Fragmentation?

10-01-2014

The year 2013 brought much attention to the Pacific Alliance (Alianza del Pacífico), the most recent regional integration initiative in Latin America. Building on the existing free trade agreements between them, the four members of the Alliance - Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru - have set the goal of advancing towards the free movement of goods, services, capitals and people, with the objective of creating an 'area of deep integration' to stimulate economic growth and competitiveness. Since it ...

The year 2013 brought much attention to the Pacific Alliance (Alianza del Pacífico), the most recent regional integration initiative in Latin America. Building on the existing free trade agreements between them, the four members of the Alliance - Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru - have set the goal of advancing towards the free movement of goods, services, capitals and people, with the objective of creating an 'area of deep integration' to stimulate economic growth and competitiveness. Since it was formally constituted in June 2012, the Pacific Alliance has come to be seen as the most promising and dynamic regional group in Latin America. Adopting a freemarket approach to regional integration, it is widely perceived as an alternative to the 'stagnating' and 'increasingly protectionist' Mercosur bloc. In this regard, the Pacific Alliance has led to hopes for a new momentum for regional integration and cooperation in Latin America, as well as to concerns about a possible fracture in the region. The EU, which has long-standing institutionalised links, liberalised trade and good relations with the members of the Pacific Alliance, has welcomed the Alliance as a promising initiative. The evolution of the Alliance could have direct or indirect consequences for the EU's relations with other regional blocs in Latin America.

A Decisive Victory in Chile's Presidential Election May Prove Insufficient for Reform

18-12-2013

As expected, Michelle Bachelet, the candidate of the Socialist Party (Partido Socialista, PS) and the centre-left coalition New Majority (Nueva Mayoría, NM), obtained a clear victory in Chile's presidential elections. Bachelet's resounding victory underscored voters' disapproval of the current centre-right government. However, Bachelet did not - as expected - win in the first round of the elections. A high abstention rate means that she received a relatively low number of votes. The high number of ...

As expected, Michelle Bachelet, the candidate of the Socialist Party (Partido Socialista, PS) and the centre-left coalition New Majority (Nueva Mayoría, NM), obtained a clear victory in Chile's presidential elections. Bachelet's resounding victory underscored voters' disapproval of the current centre-right government. However, Bachelet did not - as expected - win in the first round of the elections. A high abstention rate means that she received a relatively low number of votes. The high number of candidates points to the loss of legitimacy of the two political alliances which have dominated Chilean politics for more than two decades. The five parties in the NM will have a solid majority in the Congress. In the Chamber of Deputies, they won the largest majority for a governing alliance since 1997, partly thanks to the inclusion of the Communist Party of Chile (Partido Comunista de Chile, PC). The two blocs' share of the vote and their seats in Congress has been remarkably stable since 1989, largely because Chile's bi-nominal electoral system favours two major coalitions. The elections took place against a background of social unrest - particularly the students' protests - and a general quest for renewal in Chilean society. The NM, advocating comprehensive social and political reforms, turned to the left. Michelle Bachelet and the NM announced a programme with three foci: educational reform, tax reform , and the adoption of a new constitution. However, Bachelet's government will not have a sufficient majority in Congress to adopt the necessary legislation unless the centreright opposition agrees. If only limited reform is possible, unfulfilled expectations could be a major challenge in the coming years. Decelerating economic growth could be another challenge, particularly if combined with lowered international prices on copper, Chile's main export commodity. Agreement on the upgrade of the EU-Chile Association Agreement form 2002 may be reached in the coming years.

In Ecuador, a Decisive Victory for President Rafael Correa Consolidates the 'Citizen's Revolution'

26-02-2013

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa was re-elected for a third term with 56.9 % of the vote. His closest opponent, Guillermo Lasso, lagged far behind, with 22.8 %. Correa's support can be attributed to his social policy. In power since 2007, he has weathered the economic crisis well, making use of financial reforms and high oil prices to subsidise public spending. Alianza País (AP), Correa's party, won an absolute majority in the National Assembly. While the overseas vote remains to be counted, the ...

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa was re-elected for a third term with 56.9 % of the vote. His closest opponent, Guillermo Lasso, lagged far behind, with 22.8 %. Correa's support can be attributed to his social policy. In power since 2007, he has weathered the economic crisis well, making use of financial reforms and high oil prices to subsidise public spending. Alianza País (AP), Correa's party, won an absolute majority in the National Assembly. While the overseas vote remains to be counted, the AP is certain to obtain a two-thirds majority in the Assembly, allowing it to reform the constitution. The chief opposition parties are the Movement CREO and the PSC, although they control together only 18 seats (about 13 %). The absolute majority for AP in the parliament will allow the passage of controversial proposals, including laws on communications and water resources. These proposals have provoked considerable resistance in the past. President Correa's re-election is consistent with a trend of electing socially-minded presidents in Latin American countries. Yet Correa has said he will not seek re-election in 2017.

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