The European Union (EU) wants to achieve greater energy autonomy and continue to reduce Russia’s “excessive dependence” by seeking “other suppliers” and “smarter cooperation” with Latin America, it said on Wednesday (26) the high representative of the European bloc’s Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell.
In a speech during the “Dialogue of Chancellors and High Authorities”, held in Buenos Aires as part of the 39 th session of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Borrell highlighted that, in Europe, Russia is using energy “as a weapon.”
“It is also partly our fault, because we have created an excessive dependence that we are now trying to reduce”, he said.
The European representative highlighted that, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europe imported 40% of its gas from Russia, and now it has been possible to “reduce this dependence” to 7%. He warned of the need to “look for other suppliers” and reinforce the commitment to “decarbonized energy”.
“And this is what we see in Latin America, an example to follow, because in 2020 had almost a quarter of its gross final consumption of energy from renewable sources. Above ours, which barely exceeds %”, he argued.
“We Europeans are thinking about how to become more autonomous in relation to some of our critical dependencies, in particular energy , but autonomy should not mean isolation, a return to autarkic tensions, making international trade difficult,” said Borrell, adding that “it should simply mean smarter cooperation.
The Spanish politician arrived in Argentina to participate tomorrow in the first joint meeting since 2018 between the foreign ministers of the countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the EU.
Borrell stated that Latin America is a “world power” in biodiversity, renewable energy, agricultural production and raw materials: “Strategically and naturally you want to add value to this productive capacity, but to add value you need to attract technology, guarantee sustainability and develop efficient markets for exports”, he told the authorities at the ECLAC act.
“I believe that this situation gives Latin America and the Caribbean a new opportunity to consolidate what has already been achieved and occupy new spaces in the international market. As a leader in renewable energies, they have an indisputable potential for the production of green hydrogen, called to occupy a central place in our ecological transition”, he considered.
He also emphasized the “huge” copper reserves, iron and materials such as lithium.
“In Brussels, everyone talks about how much lithium there is in China and Afghanistan, but we must remember that 60% of the world’s reserves of this strategic mineral are in the lithium triangle formed by Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. You don’t have to look in China, it’s here,” he said.