The EU-LAC-ASIA triangulation strategy - a new boost for European-Latin American relations?

29-04-2008

The political dialogue started almost two and a half decades ago with the so-called ‘San José Process’ is without doubt one of the soundest bases of Euro-Latin American relations. At the beginning of this century, during an internal debate on stronger biregional relations and in response to general and structural changes in the international environment, the idea arose to extend this bi-regional dialogue towards a trilateral or triangular dialogue which included Asia as the third player on the stage. The text presented below questions whether this strategy could be a significant step towards renewed dialogue and a strategic partnership between the two regions. The starting point (first part) is an evaluation of the most important dialogues in Euro-Latin American relations: the dialogue between the EU and the Central American Isthmus (the San José Process), the meetings between the EU and the Rio Group and, finally, the Euro-Latin American Summits. The points of reference of this evaluation are the three different functions which a political dialogue, from a conceptual point of view, must accomplish: agenda setting, rationalisation and institutionalisation. The fact that these functions are only partially fulfilled in bi-regional relations between the EU and LAC is at least partly due to the origin of the dialogue and its politico-institutional logic, both of which limit the room for manoeuvre for renewed dialogue. Some proposals in this respect are followed in the second part of the Briefing Paper by a description and evaluation of the triangular strategy between the EU, Latin America and Asia. Obviously a strategy of this profile, started in recent years by Spanish diplomats and academics, has to take account of changes in the regional and international environment. A triangular approach which goes beyond a collection of ideas and assumptions and meets the necessary requirements for its political implementation, requires greater efforts in empirical research

The political dialogue started almost two and a half decades ago with the so-called ‘San José Process’ is without doubt one of the soundest bases of Euro-Latin American relations. At the beginning of this century, during an internal debate on stronger biregional relations and in response to general and structural changes in the international environment, the idea arose to extend this bi-regional dialogue towards a trilateral or triangular dialogue which included Asia as the third player on the stage. The text presented below questions whether this strategy could be a significant step towards renewed dialogue and a strategic partnership between the two regions. The starting point (first part) is an evaluation of the most important dialogues in Euro-Latin American relations: the dialogue between the EU and the Central American Isthmus (the San José Process), the meetings between the EU and the Rio Group and, finally, the Euro-Latin American Summits. The points of reference of this evaluation are the three different functions which a political dialogue, from a conceptual point of view, must accomplish: agenda setting, rationalisation and institutionalisation. The fact that these functions are only partially fulfilled in bi-regional relations between the EU and LAC is at least partly due to the origin of the dialogue and its politico-institutional logic, both of which limit the room for manoeuvre for renewed dialogue. Some proposals in this respect are followed in the second part of the Briefing Paper by a description and evaluation of the triangular strategy between the EU, Latin America and Asia. Obviously a strategy of this profile, started in recent years by Spanish diplomats and academics, has to take account of changes in the regional and international environment. A triangular approach which goes beyond a collection of ideas and assumptions and meets the necessary requirements for its political implementation, requires greater efforts in empirical research

Parlamendiväline autor

Dr Klaus BODEMER