as a partner for strengthening a values and rules-based world order
01 — Die Leitfragen zum Partner Atlas
RELEVANCE: What relevance does Chile have for Germany with regards to "strengthening a values and rules-based world order"?
The strategic partnership between the EU and Latin America was established as part of the first European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-LAC) Summit in June 1999. The principle underlying the strategy and the subsequent association and partnership agreements with individual countries and regions on the South American continent was the assumption that the EU and the countries of Latin America are united by many shared values and interests. In 2019, building on this partnership, the German government created the Foreign Office’s Latin America and Caribbean Initiative, which is intended to bolster collaborative efforts between Germany and the countries in the region, particularly with regard to the economy, science, climate policy, collaboration between constitutional states, and the issues of digitalisation and artificial intelligence.
Chile is not one of the most populous countries in Latin America, but with a history of 150 years of German immigration it has a special importance to Germany. Within the EU, Germany is Chile’s most important trading partner. Following the hiatus in the country’s domestic politics and its widespread foreign-policy isolation during the military dictatorship, the democratic governments in Chile since 1990 have returned to the global community and resumed the country’s foreign-policy tradition of with an additional emphasis on protecting human rights. Since then, Chile has made committed contributions to multilateral organisations to promote peace, human rights and democracy, and to peacekeeping activities under the aegis of the United Nations. This multilateral approach is now part of the DNA of
As a commodity-rich country, Chile is one of the countries that is strategically important to Germany’s resource security. It has the world’s largest copper and lithium deposits, for example. As in many parts of the world, Germany’s interest in absorbing commodities from Chile faces competition from the more aggressive position being taken by China in the region. Close integration of Chile and consultations on political, economic and social questions are not only desired by the partner country, but are in the fundamental interests of both Chile and Germany.
WILLINGNESS: To what extent is Chile willing to work with Germany in realising this interest?
The questions of climate protection and energy security are relatively new to Chile’s foreign policy agenda. Given its topography and geographical make-up, Chile is particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. The decision by the Chilean government to organise the COP25 Climate Change Conference in 2019 in Santiago after Brazil dropped out at short notice was a clear acknowledgement of Chile’s commitment to do even more in future as a player in international forums to combat the effects of climate change.
Chile’s political and social debate about climate change and energy security makes strong reference to the energy transition in Germany and also puts trust in collaboration with German partners. Since 2004, the German Society for International Cooperation (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ) has been focusing on advising the Chilean government and regional and local authorities in this regard. Chile has announced an exit from coal by 2040, and the proportion of the country’s energy mix represented by renewables has been steadily rising.
STATUS QUO: How close is Germany and Chile's current cooperation in this area?
On the sidelines of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD) in April 2019, Germany’s former Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier (CDU) concluded a bilateral energy Closer collaboration in the area of renewables and energy efficiency is therefore being planned, in addition to hydrogen and digitalisation. In April 2020, Chile was the first Latin American country to comply with the obligation under the Paris Agreement to regularly update its National Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in order to reduce its greenhouse gas Chile is showing itself to be a reliable partner to Germany in the global fight against the consequences of climate change, the progression of which will have an important impact on the international order.
Germany and Chile also have a collaborative arrangement in place regarding domestic security. Considering the social unrest in October-November 2019 and the fact that the security forces were visibly overstretched, the Chilean government expressed “its interest in German expertise to support a reform process for the police, with particular regard to social acceptance and police actions in the area of communication and ”. Since then, various police delegations from Germany have provided advice to police leaders and the Interior Ministry in Chile. The extent to which this collaboration will continue following the change of government from the conservative President Sebastián Piñera to the leftist Gabriel Boric is uncertain.
POTENTIAL: What is the potential for strengthening the partnership between Germany and Chile in this area?
Despite changes of government, interaction and cooperation in multilateral forums are firmly anchored in the country’s foreign-policy doctrine across party lines. As a logical consequence, Chile joined the Alliance for Multilateralism, created by Germany and France, Chile’s then Foreign Minister Teodoro Ribera stressed his country’s readiness to “press ahead with the modernisation of international organisations and adapt them to the times and Chile and Germany are already coordinating the way they deal with a number of multilateral topics, and are pooling their efforts in areas such as the fight against poverty; democratic development; Antarctic protection and utilisation; environmental protection; arms control; combating the drug trade; and security policy. Both countries have a common position regarding the reform of the UN Security Council, with the aim of creating a committee of no more than 25 members, and an increase in the number of permanent and non-permanent members. Chile supports Germany’s efforts to become a permanent member of the Security Council.
In view of the current health crisis, the Chilean government is calling for concerted action by the global community to overcome the pandemic. In a recently communicated initiative, Chile calls on Germany and other allies to work together via the committees of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to develop tools and measures to respond early and cooperatively to future pandemics.
Despite continued shortcomings in the practical implementation of its national environmental and energy policy, Chile is already playing a leading role in the region in the areas of climate protection, energy efficiency and energy security, since its political stability and economic strength give it the resources it needs to take the next steps. In this connection, the Chilean government was asked by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to head the “Mitigation Strategy” coalition as part of the Climate Action Summit in New York in September 2019.
POLICY RECOMMENDATION: What in German foreign policy has to change in order to fully exploit this potential?
The readiness to coordinate closely with Germany on multilateral questions is in place, but direct interaction between high-level German politicians and Chile is often lacking. The last State visits by German Foreign Ministers and heads of government took place a number of years ago. Most recently, German President Joachim Gauck paid a four-day visit to Chile in 2016.
Chile’s role in the Alliance for Multilateralism is a powerful signal to the government and population that Germany thinks highly of the democratic changes that have taken place in the country during the past three decades. Nevertheless, the imponderables of the constitutional process currently pose a threat to political stability in Chile. An even stronger orientation toward this partner country, in the form of high-level bilateral meetings, for example, would therefore once again emphasise the importance of Chile as a beacon of stability in the region and as a highly regarded partner in values in efforts to overcome global challenges.
Andreas Klein headed the KAS office in Chile from September 2016 to March 2022.
02 — Foreign Office
Enrique Nercasseaux 2381, Providencia
Santiago de Chile
03 — The region
The strategic partnership between the EU and Latin America was established as part of the first European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-LAC) Summit in June 1999. The principle underlying the strategy and the subsequent association and partnership agreements with individual countries and regions on the South American continent was the assumption that the EU and the countries of Latin America are united by many shared values and interests.
- Population: 19.450.953
- Capital: Santiago de Chile
Brazil is the largest country in South America, the fifth-largest country in the world, and the largest economy in Latin America. It also accounts for more than 60 percent of the Amazon tropical rainforest, the world’s largest, and includes a large proportion of renewables in its energy mix. The country’s geographical location, size, economic significance and the importance of preserving its natural resources in the fight against the global climate crisis all underpin the central role Brazil plays in ensuring and maintaining global climate, energy and food security.
- Population: 212.559.417
- Capital: Brasilia
In the context of the competition between political systems involving Russia, China and the western democracies, Colombia is of significant strategic importance to Germany and to Europe as a whole, both as a partner in values and as a regional anchor of stability. In terms of population size, economic power, geographical size and wealth of resources, it is one of the most important countries in Latin America.
- Population: 50.882.891
- Capital: Bogota
In connection with organised crime, drug trafficking, and the infiltration of the state by criminal groups, Mexico – a regional leader and member of the G20 – is facing major challenges that affect both internal and regional security. In view of the cross-border effects of organised crime in Mexico, which extends far beyond the American continent, migration from Central America and other regions of the world through Mexico towards the USA, the significant economic potential as a manufacturing base offering a well-qualified workforce and privileged access to the US market via the North American Free-Trade Area, Mexico is of great importance for the stability of the region.
- Population: 128.932.753
- Capital: Mexiko-Stadt
Costa Rica generates nearly 100 percent of its electricity consumption from renewable energy sources. The country is also considered a leader in nature conservation. More than 25 percent of Costa Rica’s land is devoted today to nature conservation areas. With its Decarbonisation Plan, adopted in 2018 with an implementation deadline of 2050, the country is setting important standards and leading the way both regionally and internationally. Currently, the Environmental Commission of the Costa Rican Parliament is working on a bill that would officially ban oil and gas exploration and extraction in the country. Against this backdrop, Costa Rica can undoubtedly be considered a major player when it comes to safeguarding significant resources and protecting the climate.
- Population: 5.185.625
- Capital: San José
Peru is an exception in Latin America in terms of its enormous wealth of resources and biodiversity. The country has three large landscape zones: the coast, most of which is covered by desert, the Andes and the jungle region. According to the World Resource Institute, Peru is one of only eight megadiverse countries in the world, possessing 84 of the 104 existing life zones. 76 percent of the country is occupied by rainforest, which means that the country has the largest share of the Amazon rainforest after Brazil.
- Population: 32,971,854
- Capital: Lima
Mexico is the second-largest economy in Latin America, and is a member of the G20, the OECD and the WTO. After the USA and China, the European Union is its third-most important trading partner. Given its geographic proximity to the US and the economic, cultural and social interrelationships between the two countries, especially as part of the successor to NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) which came into force in July 2020 – the Tratado comercial entre México, Estados Unidos y Canadá (T-MEC) – Mexico plays a special part in this economic context.
- Population: 128,932,753
- Capital: Mexico City
According to official data from the Colombian migration authorities, approximately 1.8 million of the more than 4 million Venezuelan migrants are currently in Colombia.Commuters and so-called “transit migrants“ are not included in these statistics, which means that their actual number is probably even higher.
- Population: 50,882,891
- Capital: Bogota
In comparison to other Latin American countries and despite its modest size, Uruguay serves as a model in view of its impressive political and socio-economic achievements . In a region that is not always stable, the country can look back on a long democratic-republican tradition with functioning institutions and a diverse media landscape. According to the latest edition of The Economist‘s Democracy Index, Uruguay is currently the most democratic country in Latin America and is ranked 15th worldwide.
- Population: 3,473,730
- Capital: Montevideo
Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America and, with a GDP of approximately 1,5 trillion US dollars, is one of the most important emerging markets in the world. The country has a domestic market of 214 million inhabitants and is rich in natural resources.
- Population: 212,559,417
- Capital: Brasilia