European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced Monday an investment of € 45 billion over several years for Latin American and Caribbean economies through the Global Gateway program, the EU's response to massive Chinese undertakings in the region.
Von der Leyen said in Brussels that the Global Gateway program will seek to create local value chains, according to Argentine Presidency sources after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between President Alberto Fernández and Von der Leyen on energy cooperation between the European Union and Argentina.
This memorandum is part of one of the agreements of the Global Gateway program agenda and amounts to an investment of 45 billion Euros by the EU in energy and climate initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean.
More than 135 projects are already in the pipeline, from clean hydrogen to critical raw materials, from the expansion of high-performance data cable networks to the production of the most advanced RNA vaccines, she said.
The official considered that Europe and the Latin American and Caribbean region will have to agree together on which sectors and value chains to prioritize.
We are not only interested in investing in the extraction of raw materials, we want to partner with Latin America and the Caribbean, said von der Leyen at the opening of a round table with political and business leaders, before the start of the III European Union-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit.
Thus, the EU will invest in first-class technology and high-quality training for local workers, she said while highlighting the cooperation between the two regions and the potential of Latin America and the Caribbean in the growing wind and solar sector. The natural next step is to transform that clean energy into clean hydrogen, she said. Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe need each other more than ever, she added.
Europe aspires to be the partner of choice for Latin America and the Caribbean as we choose to be a partner for the region, Von der Leyen also pointed out. We believe that the European offer to the region is different and important, she went on.
Regarding the EU-Celac Summit, Von der Leyen said it was a new beginning for an old friendship between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.
Von der Leyen also met with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with whom she discussed the South American country's commitment to zero deforestation by 2030 in the Amazon and the trade deal between the EU and Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay). The two blocs had announced in 2019 a principle of agreement, but the environmental policies of the then Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro set off alerts, and the EU demanded an additional chapter on environmental protection.