EU Increases Investment, Business Cooperation In Caribbean

THE European Commission this week announced €118 million of new support for Latin America and the Caribbean, to increase EU investment and business cooperation in the region.

The announcement was made at the European Union (EU) – Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC) Business Summit.

Commissioner Mimica, responsible for International Cooperation and Development, said: “Today’s event is an opportunity for businesses from both sides of the Atlantic to come together, share ideas and strengthen ties. The new programmes signed today will help to further strengthen inclusive growth for European and Latin American societies.”

ElżbietaBieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs said: “Business creates the jobs and growth we need, on both sides of the Atlantic. SMEs have a lot to gain from internationalisation. This event can help build and strengthen partnerships and extend value chains connecting our continents.”

Several new programmes announced today will be implemented through blending facilities (financial mechanisms combining grants and loans). They promote additional investment and key infrastructure in the transport, energy and environment sectors, and support the social and private sector’s development in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Some examples of the projects announced in the framework of today’s event include:

An investment grant of €15 million for the Geothermal Development Facility Latin America which focuses on the development of geothermal energy in Latin America.

A contribution for an energy project for the Eastern Caribbean (€4.25 million of EU grant funding).

This project gives technical assistance and invests in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The 5th phase of the Al-Invest programme (with total funding of €26 million) that facilitates access to international markets for Latin American small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The European Union is also launching the European Union and Latin American business services and innovation network (ELAN) programme. Its aim is to promote EU business development in Latin American countries and technology-based business opportunities among EU and Latin American companies, with a total budget of €11 million. The programme is deployed in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Costa Rica.

In the context of the Business Summit a new agreement between the European Commission and the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), represented by its president Luis Alberto Moreno, has also been signed, to foster the close cooperation of these leading donor organisations.

The Business Summit, under the theme “Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean: Promoting inclusive and sustainable growth by enhancing the role of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises,” brings together 500 high-level participants from the business community, financial institutions and policymakers from across EU and CELAC Member States.

The conclusions of the Business Summit will be submitted as a formal recommendation to the EUCELAC

Heads of State and Government Summit. This is the 5th Business Summit between the two regions, after the previous ones held in Vienna (2006), Lima (2008), Madrid (2010) and Santiago de Chile (2013).

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