RELATIONS WITH THE EU
The European Union and Chile
Political and economic relations between the European Union and Chile are framed by the 2002 Association Agreement. An ambitious update of the Association Agreement is under negotiation.
The European Union has a multidimensional relationship with Chile through close cooperation with the Government, civil society, the private sector, universities and citizens.
The European Union and Chile are close partners who share the values of freedom, democracy, human rights, the promotion of multilateralism as well as free and rules-based trade.
Chile and the EU established diplomatic relations 55 years ago in 1967. Chile was the first country in Latin America to have a local representation of the Union and the first country to sign an Association Agreement with the Union in 2002 that includes three pillars: dialogue political, cooperation and trade.
Political dialogue meetings are held regularly at all levels in the framework of the Association Committees and Association Councils. These allow assessing the implementation of the Association Agreement in its three dimensions (political, trade and cooperation pillars), the fulfilment of mutual commitments, as well as collaboration in areas of common interest.
In addition, structural political dialogues on Human Rights, Ocean Governance or climate change take place to deepen bilateral and multilateral cooperation in these areas.
The EU and Chile have signed an agreement in 2015 for the participation of Chile in the crisis management operations of the European Union, as in EUFOR Bosnia Herzegovina since 2005.
There is also a regular dialogue between parliamentarians of both parties through the EU-Chile Joint Parliamentary Committee.
The EU-Chile Joint Consultative Committee was created between the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Chilean civil society partners and organisations. It allows civil society organisations from both parts to address issues of common interest and to monitor the updating of the Association Agreement.
Furthermore, the European Union is observing with great interest the constituent process in Chile that will define the future trajectory of the country. Within this framework, the European Union Delegation in Chile and the EU Member States have decided to make themselves available to share European experiences on constitutional processes and content through the Chile-European Union Forum initiative.
Economic and Trade Relations
The EU's economic relations with Chile have intensified since the Association Agreement signed in 2002, which represented a milestone in the international economic relations of both parties, being one of the most extensive, solid and modern bilateral agreements signed at the time. The EU and Chile are in the process of modernising their Association Agreement to deepen and expand this already excellent relationship.
The EU is the first foreign investor in Chile and its third largest trading partner. In 2020, trade between the EU and Chile reached a value of €13.4 billion. According to Chile’s Central Bank figures, the stock of EU foreign direct investment (FDI) reached €89.8 billion in 2019, representing 36% of total foreign investment in the country.
Trade between the European Union and Chile is multi-sectoral. The EU imports from Chile agricultural products (25%), mining products (22%) and basic metals (19%). Exports from the EU to Chile consist mainly of industrial products such as machinery (35%), other manufactured products such as chemicals (18%) and transport equipment (12%). The Association Agreement has favoured the diversification of Chilean exports and the access of SMEs to the European market.
The EU's cooperation with Chile as high-income country addresses areas such as governance and human rights, climate change, sustainable growth and jobs, digitalisation, science and technology, education and culture, with Chile participating in global and regional programs in these fields.
The EU supports Chile in the design and implementation of public policies through programs such as Euroclima+ on climate change, EUROsociAL+ on social cohesion and EL PAcCTO on organised crime.
Chile and the EU are partners in climate action, working to achieve carbon neutrality. The EU supports Chile in its COP 25 presidency and on the way to Glasgow 26 with €7.4 million. Through LAIF, the EU awarded a grant of €15 million to the first solar thermal power plant in Latin America, Cerro Dominador. Within the framework of the NAMA Facility, the EU contributed €15 million for SMEs to access renewable energy for self-consumption.
The EU and Chile have established a Bilateral Fund to promote sustainable development. The fund supports initiatives for post-pandemic economic recovery and green hydrogen development. Furthermore, the EU is developing a Team Europe initiative on green hydrogen to boost its development in Chile.
On the other hand, the Partnership Instrument finances innovative programs of shared interest, such as urban development, energy, circular economy, gender, digital transformation and data protection.
Alliance with Civil Society
Civil society organisations are key partners. They are embedded in the territories and are therefore better placed to understand their development needs.
The EU implements programs with civil society on issues such as human rights, gender equality and women's rights, climate change, economic, social and cultural rights of indigenous peoples, as well as citizen participation and social cohesion. In the context of the health crisis, the EU provides support amounting to €1million to civil society organisations working to help the most vulnerable population. It also supports networks of civil society organisations to promote citizen participation in decision-making processes within the framework of the current constitutional process.
The call for proposals 2021 was launched in May 2021 for the financing lines "Support to Civil Society Organisations" and "European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights", aimed at contributing to the effective participation of civil society and the defence of human rights and democracy. The call will remain open until 5 August.
Research, Science and Technology
The EU and Chile work together to address global social challenges by strengthening research, science and technology.
A scientific and technological cooperation agreement was signed in 2002, allowing Chile to participate in the Horizon 2020 research program. The successor of this program, Horizon Europe, is already open to the world for the period 2021-2027, with a budget of more than €95 million for research and innovation. Chile has one of the highest participation amongst Latin American countries in this program, with 156 projects up to date.
The National University Network (REUNA) of Chile participates in the BELLA Program, co-financed by the EU with €25 million. Through a transatlantic cable, BELLA established the first direct digital data highway between Europe and Latin America, promoting digital inclusion and the development of the data economies of both regions. About 300 000 REUNA users will benefit from BELLA in Chile.
In 2018, the EU and Chile signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Copernicus, the largest earth observation program, with fast and free access to their satellite images for the development of applications. In Chile, their data has been used for forest fire control, positioning fishing cages and monitoring glaciers and underground water sources. Moreover, Chile benefits from the satellite constellation of the European Galileo program.
The close cultural ties that, for historical reasons, the EU Member States maintain with Chile are reflected in an active cultural promotion policy that contributes to consolidating cultural and trade relations between Europe and Chile.
These policies include:
- Promoting academic relations between higher education institutions, through the Erasmus+ programmes.
- Organizing arts festivals, such as the European Film Festival, which in 2021 celebrated its 23rd edition of the Jazz Festival ChilEuropa.
- Celebrating Europe Day (9 May), an occasion to display the European culture in all its diversity.
Additionally, a number of European cultural centres are present in Chile, offering a varied cultural program as well as language classes to the Chilean public:
They are part of EUNIC, the network of European National Institutes of Culture.