The Making of Latin America Policy in Europe

Research question/goal: 

This project sought to uncover the different origins and motivating factors of EU Member States’ Latin America policies, as well as their interaction with the EU’s strategy towards the region. To this end, Spain, the UK, and Germany were chosen as influential Member States endowed with distinct national policies towards Latin America. While the EU is attempting to create a common policy towards Latin America, Member States’ approaches to the region vary, thus hampering a coherent European policy. The project began by systematically mapping the variation in policy activity regarding Latin America between the countries under study in economic, governance, and EU-related affairs. To this end, it employed fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) as an index-creation tool. On the basis of the variation uncovered through the policy activity index and theoretical relevance, two policy areas were selected for in-depth study: development policy and the interaction between national policy towards Latin America and the EU’s strategy vis-à-vis the region. Situated within a Foreign Policy Analysis approach and based on an extended liberal theoretical account, the investigation developed a framework to shed light on Latin America policy-making in Europe. Empirically, the project was based on a series of semi-structured elite interviews carried out at the Ministries of Foreign Affairs as well as Development Ministries and Agencies of the countries under study. This evidence was complemented with further interviews of European Union officials and Latin American diplomats based in Brussels, text analysis of government documents and, in the case of development policy, data available from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The study found that overall, foreign policy-making towards Latin America in Europe is determined mostly by domestic political and economic interests. However, both in development policy towards the region and in the interaction between national and EU policy, ideational factors also play a role, particularly in Germany and Spain. The various explanatory factors interact with one another in unique ways, thus producing country-specific policy outcomes.

Fact sheet

2008 to 2011
Data Sources: 
OECD data, government documents, interviews
Geographic Space: 
European Union, Latin America