Latin American Perceptions of Europe and the European Union
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Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas
Publication date: 2020-06-25
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2015;51(1):127–140
This paper argues that public opinion is a useful tool and valuable source of information to better understand Latin Americans’ preferences, levels of priority and assessment of other countries, regions and institutions, including European countries, Europe, and the European Union (EU). The central arguments are, on the one hand, that the higher the levels of trade with Europe as a percentage of the total trade of Latin American countries, the higher the degree of importance, interest, and priority that Latin Americans will give to Europe, European countries, and the EU. On the other hand, the more knowledge Latin Americans have about international organisations, including the EU, the more they appreciate their work. Using the data from The Americas and the World survey, Latinobarómetro and the Map of Interests between the European Union & Latin America and the Caribbean, sufficient evidence is provided to support these arguments. If public opinion determines, to some extent, foreign policy decision making, priorities and actions, then a higher assessment and prioritisation of Europe and the EU within Latin America’s populations can have a positive effect on Latin American foreign policy vis-à-vis the EU and the countries that compose it. Therefore, increasing knowledge about and more trade with each other is a good strategy for European and Latin American countries to build on their bi-regional and bilateral relations, creating a virtuous circle of incremental cooperation and welfare for both regions.