BRUSSELS – The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, has warned that the EU risks being displaced from its role in Latin America by China if it does not establish better and more extensive ties in the region.
Borrell’s observation came during an interview with EFE President Gabriela Cañas, in the context of the difficulties being faced by the 27 EU countries and the four nations in Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) in ratifying the 2019 trade agreement, signed after 20 years of negotiations. He spoke in favor of saving the deal.
“I think this should have a political solution because, if we do not establish more and better relations with Latin America, we will be displaced by China,” as “China is disembarking in Latin America more than in Africa,” Borrell warned.
China has been making advances at Latin American countries, especially those on the Pacific, “with investments, with cultural activities, with trade, and have displaced us, we are no longer Latin America’s second largest trading partner, the second is China,” explained EU’s top diplomat.
The Spanish politician underlined the need for the EU to reverse this situation.
“We have to re-occupy the space to continue having influence and to benefit from the development of Latin America, and Latin America too needs it,” he said.
For this, Borrell said that the EU must “be able to complete the agreement (with Mercosur), not in the trade aspects, which are already finalized, but also in the political and institutional aspects, as well as in the environmental and climate aspects.”
There have been doubts among European countries, such as France, the Netherlands, Austria and Belgium concerning issues related to the environment and sustainable development that are missing in the agreement.
The latest stumbling block in the ratification process came from the European Parliament in October, when it adopted a resolution rejecting Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policy in the Amazon.