Fostering relations between Europe and Latin America, especially on issues of integration and digital infrastructure, could help accelerate economic recovery in both regions. It is therefore of particular importance to strengthen multilateral relations and to encourage new partnerships focused on channelling funds for infrastructure, the recovery of the business fabric or green growth.
These are some of the conclusions reached by a group of international experts who met at the CAF Conference 2020 Europe-Latin America relations, which in this year's edition analysed the most appropriate responses to the crisis by the countries of the region, the new dynamics of global multilateralism and the new opportunities for international cooperation.
"We need to channel new resources and carry out projects on digital issues and regional integration that can mean the difference between losing 10 years to the pandemic and regaining the momentum of growth and development in the region. Cooperation and strategic alliances between the countries of the European Union and Latin America will be important to overcome this crisis," said Luis Carranza, executive president of CAF (development bank of Latin America).
Ana de la Cueva, Spain's Secretary of State for the Economy and Business Affairs, said that we are in a global crisis that requires global responses. "It is time for multilateral institutions. Spain can play a role as a link between the multilateral institutions and the Latin American economies as a whole, as long as they agree on common positions", said de la Cueva.
To deepen the relationship between Latin America and Europe, EU support will also be necessary. Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, said that from the EU "we promote investment and foster common agendas, and thanks to triangular cooperation we can address priorities quickly and effectively. The EU already supports several projects with CAF, from road infrastructure to sustainable cities. I look forward to taking this relationship to a new level".
The conference was also attended by Mauricio Pozo, Minister of Economy and Finance of Ecuador, and Azucena Arbeleche, Minister of Economy and Finance of Uruguay, who commented on how their countries are dealing with the crisis. In the case of Ecuador, Pozo referred to how multilateral financing is helping to straighten out the situation and said that, thanks to the measures adopted by the government, they are in a situation "where we are already beginning to see significant signs of recovery". Arbeleche explained that Uruguay's policy of having cash flow or contingent lines contracted with multilateral credit agencies "was very important because it allowed us to go to disbursements with multilateral agencies".
At the closing of the conference, Antonio Garamendi, president of the CEOE, said it is important to promote innovation and digitalisation in order to overcome the current crisis. To achieve this, "from Spain we are working very hard on dual training, on training from a young age, on lifelong learning and especially on digital matters", said Garamendi.
The conference was also attended by Alicia González, international economics correspondent for El País; Rebeca Grynspan, Ibero-American Secretary General; Emma Navarro, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB); Antonio Silveria, Vice-President for Infrastructure at CAF; Carmen Gisela Vergara, Executive Director of ProPanama; Luis Castilla, CEO of Infrastructure, Acciona; Philippe Delleur, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs, Alstom and Narciso Casado, Permanent Secretary of the Ibero-American Business Council (CEIB).