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On Monday 12th March, Canning House was delighted to welcome representatives from Spanish think-tank Real Instituto Elcano to discuss a recently published report entitled 'Why does Latin America matter?'.
Robert Capurro, Canning House CEO, welcomed and introduced Charles Powell, Director of Elcano, and Carlos Malamud, Senior Analyst at Elcano and coordinator of the report.
Charles Powell began by presenting the Real Instituto Elcano, a young but prestigious think-tank which frequently advises its Honorary Chairman, King Philip VI of Spain. He then explained the origins of this report, which aims to contribute to a more constructive and optimistic narrative on Latin America and its relevance in the world. Latin America's international visibility may have decreased in the post 9/11 world, and then as a consequence of the 2008 recession, however its relevance in contributing to a new world order, and its importance as a partner for the EU, are not to be neglected.
The report seeks to be relevant not only to EU institutions, but also to civil society, the business community, trade unions and more. This is reflected in the sources that Elcano consulted during the elaboration of the report, including for example Canning House in the UK, and Latin American ambassadors to Spain.
Carlos Malamud then spoke about the contents of the report more generally, which amongst other points addresses the question of what the EU expects from Latin America. Although there is not a single European approach towards Latin America, there are initiatives underway to strengthen bi-regional ties, within the context of the EU's global strategy. Without downplaying the challenges this involves, taking into account for example Latin America's diversity, the report highlights that EU-Latin American relations rest upon solid foundations.
The audience, which included Latin American ambassadors and representatives from the Foreign Office as well as corporate and individual members of Canning House, was responsive during the Q&A part of the evening. Questions covered a range of issues, from regional integration in Latin America, to the possibility of a populist threat in the region, and the European response to the Venezuelan crisis.
As chair, Robert Capurro summarised the evening's discussion by noting that the European Union and Latin America face similar challenges - and therein lie the opportunities for a bi-regional rapprochement.Elcano's report is available to read in English here.
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