The European Union has become one of the most important regions to establish relations in the world as a consequence of its successful performance in the economic, social and political aspects. It is the evidence to demonstrate the reality that began to be built since 1950´s and the importance that now it represent for our country.
In spite of the fact that in the 1990´s the relationship with this community did not have the enough relevance neither the recognition that should have, the Europeans have given us the opportunity to exchange interests such as the case of the financial help for the development, the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) with our products or the social platform to try to solve important topics like the illicit drugs or the violence. Those processes allowed that
Therefore, Colombia continues having strong links with the United States although the government tries to show other facts; the real reason of that is that Colombia has not prolonged its policies beyond the economic topics until 10 year ago when the social and political problems like the poverty, the drugs and the violence had became causes of the low growth and development of the country; because before of that our history show us the few decisions and situations in which the US has not had influence. In addition, it is obvious that the country has the tendency to be active and to be part of the
Even when this general context has limited the Colombian Foreign Policy with other nations, the country has had the fortune of being part of the Andean Community (CAN) which has given us the time to keep at a minimum level the relation; because it is true the Tickner´s thought about the few participation of Colombia in those European countries and also the inefficient use of essential instruments like the GSP or other good possibilities such as the Social or Political Programs only to continue with the same North American direction and the strong beliefs in strategies with few results.
Basically, the European Union and Colombia relationships now are better than in the past because at least both parts have the initiative to improve the cooperation and some aspects like the peace process, but in this sense the conversations have the prejudices and the fact that for this region is more important the biregional relationships than the bilateral relationships; whereas for our country the vital purpose is to be a main partner for this community and others of the world.
In this context, one of the facts that confirm the bad treatment of the foreign policy in Colombia is this European relationship; because sometimes and in some events like this topic seemed that the globalization refers to our country like a process of doing tactics and strategies in the same direction (Unites States) playing the role of total willingness. Nevertheless, the country must keep the relation but it does not represent that all the actions and the most important policies have to take the North American opinion. The above mentioned, denote that in the framework of the globalization concept our government require of a complete reform with the real perspectives that implies this actual idea.
However, actually Colombia is benefited by the GSP Plus that started again in January of this year and that has more advantages apart of the economic topic (300 products more of the 7200 of the system) with the establishment of the sustainable development and good gobernability regime in which Colombia is participating with current topics like the violation of human rights, investment for the cooperation among others.
Then, the relations between European Union and Colombia are established but should improve and it is necessary that the Foreign policy has a change not only in its partners but also in its objectives; it needs a new design that really create the environment for the development and to avoid this type of subordinations. Furthermore, this relationship has to be strong and must be considered a central topic for the government; because this region has more than 450 million of people with many opportunities to make commerce, to establish political agreements, social help and others chances to progress.
Hence, one of the tools that could help in order to get more acceptances and a better environment is the change of the Foreign Policy as a whole context; probably we can diversify and expand markets, ideas, beliefs and relationships with new concepts and new equities.
For this purpose,
- SPG Plus, Nuevas Normas y Medidas. UE + Colombia una vía para el comercio, http://www.espacioblog.com/comerciouecol/categoria/sistema-preferencias-generalizadas-plus, consulted in March 9 of 2.006.
- Gustavo Puyo, “La política exterior colombiana frente a la Unión Europea en la década de 1990,” en Martha Ardila, Diego Cardona y Arlene Tickner (Editores), Prioridades y desafíos de la política exterior colombiana, Bogotá: Fescol y Hanns Seidel Stiftung, 2002, pp. 399 – 428