The European Union is alarmed at the advance of Russia and China, in the countries of Latin America, a region traditionally linked in political and economic terms to the West. With a view to 2023, Brussels is preparing a diplomatic and commercial counteroffensive to try to reaffirm its positions in the area, according to a document sent to EU foreign ministers, to which EL PAÍS has had access. The text warns that Europe has taken a back foot in many of the 33 countries that make up the region, while China’s economic interests and Russia’s political influence have gained a stronger foothold.
The European Union has neglected its relations with Latin America for almost a decade: a summit between the two regions has not been held since 2015. The EU has been more focused on the problems of its immediate neighborhood, such as Libya, Syria or now Ukraine. China, on the other hand, multiplied its investment in the region by 26 between 2000 and 2020 “and is the first or second most important trading partner of Latin American and Caribbean countries, displacing the EU and surpassing the United States in many countries,” warns the document prepared by the European External Action Service (EEAS), headed by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. The report underlines that 21 of the 33 countries in Latin America have joined China’s so-called New Silk Road, Beijing’s plan to expand its trade relations across the planet.