Development policy occupies a central place among the external policies of the European Union. Its objectives are to eradicate poverty, promote sustainable growth, defend human rights and democracy, promote gender equality, and overcome environmental and climate challenges. The EU is currently working with some 160 countries around the world, focusing especially on ACP countries, countries that aspire to join the Union, partners in the eastern and southern neighborhood, Asia and Latin America. The EU and its Member States contribute over 50% of total global development aid, being the main donors, and in 2017 they provided a total of 75,700 million euros. Currently, the policy is based on a strategic 2017 programme titled the "New European Consensus on Development", that represents a new collective vision and a new action plan to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development.
Cooperation of the European Union with Uruguay is inserted in this context and represents an issue that both parties consider valuable and of first importance.
Between 2002 and 2015, in agreement with the Government of Uruguay, 15 projects were executed with a total financial contribution of 52.6 million euros, promoting actions in the areas of economic and social development, employment promotion, the environment, justice, and innovation, among others.
In that same period, Uruguay took active part of the bilateral cooperation between the EU and Mercosur. 16 projects were executed with a total financal contribution of 54.7 million euros, with a view to strengthening the Mercosur institutions, its internal market and its social development.
Currently, cooperation with Uruguay is channeled through the cooperation agreements defined between the EU and Latin America & the Caribbean. Uruguay is an active participant in regional cooperation programs:
EUROsociAL+ for the improvement of Social Cohesion in Latin American countries; EUROCLIMA+ for implementation of the commitments of the Paris Agreement in the field of climate governance as well as financing and technical assistance for the execution of projects; AL-Invest 5.0 for promoting internationalization and boosting the productivity of tens of thousands of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); EL PAcCTO for assistance and cooperation in the fight against transnational organized crime; COPOLAD to foster the promotion of drug policies; and the Erasmus programme, through which Uruguayan students receive scholarships to study in the EU.
The EU assigns great importance to the role played by civil society organizations in a country, for their contribution to the formulation and monitoring of public policies, in the defense of human rights and democratic values. Between 2002 and 2018, the EU supported 46 initiatives promoted by civil society organisations through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and the Program to Support Civil Society and Local Authorities with a total financial contribution of 21.5 million euros.
Uruguay is a strategic partner for the EU in the field of development cooperation, and we are currently cooperating together to benefit third countries. We share views on the concept of development, which we understand is a continuous process, where needs and capacities required to face the challenges of its different stages are continuously shifting and therefore so too are the needs and opportunities to continue cooperating.
See list and description of project in Spanish here.