The partnership between the EU and Latin America is based on very close historical and cultural links, extensive exchanges between their peoples and robust and growing trade and investment flows. The relationship is also built on deep foundations of shared values and aspirations: commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, pursuit of social cohesion and sustainable development.
The relationship was formalized in 1999 when a biregional strategic partnership was established under which regular summits have taken place. The EU has set up an extensive partnership network and entered into other agreements with individual Latin American countries and with regional groupings. Central America is one of these regions.
EU development cooperation instruments have been a cornerstone of this relationship over the years. EU cooperation has been implemented through: 1) bilateral programmes with individual countries, 2) regional programmes, as with Central America, and 3) programmes at a continental level (Latin America).
The cooperation programme for Central America 2014-2020 is included in COMPONENT 2 of the ‘Multi-annual Indicative Regional Programme for Latin America’: Multi-annual Indicative Programme for sub-regional cooperation activities with Central America, which has an allocation of €120 million for these 7 years.
The EU, in line with the priorities identified by the Member States of the Central American Integration System (SICA), developed the indicative programme based on the 3 focal sectors to which the EU can provide the highest added value:
Support for regional economic integration, including commitments undertaken in this area when the Association Agreement was signed with Central America.
The objective of this priority is to contribute to the inclusive and sustainable development of Central America, through improved regional economic integration. Regional restrictions on competitiveness, diversification and investment in Central America need to be reduced through support for regional economic institutions. Likewise, the aim is to maximise the benefits to the Central American population and the implementation of the economic components of the EU-CA Association Agreement. The amount allocated for the fulfilment of this priority is €40 million.
Support for the regional security strategy and the rule of law
Within the framework of the Central American Security Strategy (CASS), this priority seeks to achieve a reduction in violent crimes and impunity in the region, as well as respect for human rights and the promotion of a culture of peace. This requires enhancements in the capacity of the region to limit the incidence of transnational criminal organizations and their activity and improvements in ability to provide the population with an effective and verifiable security and justice service. The amount allocated to this priority is €40 million.
Support for the regional climate change strategy and the Central American integral risk management policy
The objective of this priority, under the Regional Strategy for Climate Change, is to contribute to addressing climate change and environmental issues by supporting the adoption and application of measures for adaptation, mitigation and reduction of the risks of disasters and promoting low carbon investments. The aim is also to contribute to the application of relevant regional policies such as the Central American Policy for Integrated Risk Management (PCGIR) and the Regional Disaster Reduction Plan (PRRD). The amount allocated for the fulfilment of this priority is €35 million.