Giving focus to the Cultural, Scientific and Social Dimension of EU - CELAC relations

WP5 - Cultural Dimension Overview


The overall objective of this WP is to create, consolidate and disseminate a shared knowledge base on the historical development and current significance of the social dimension of EU-CELAC relations, and its potential for creating renewed sound bi-regional social cooperation agendas.

Specific objectives include

  • Identify those social policies in the different models of European Welfare State that are (and traditionally havI been) of particular interest for LAC countries. Simultaneously determine which Latin-American social policies (past and present) call (or should call) for attention in Europe, 
  • Analyse whether the social policies defined and implemented at EU level and, in particular, the EU policies for territorial cohesion still remain (or have ever been) inspiring models for LAC and if so in what way
  • Scrutinize how has evolved in both regions (still) the vision of societies based on social cohesion and shared democratic values.
  • Explore the major common challenges related to social cohesion and social inclusion that predominantly preoccupy both regions in the mid and long term.
  • Identify EU-CELAC common areas of collaboration and mutual influence for the construction of renewed social systems and define specific proposals and recommendations in order to strengthen the social dimension of EU – CELAC relations through dialogue and common initiatives.

Research trajectories on social issues in EU and LAC

The task aims to identify research priorities which have emerged in EU and LAC in two macro areas (1) the social reality of LAC and the EU; (2) the evolution, state of the art and current debate of social welfare in LAC. The aim is to apply sound scientific analysis to reconstruct how each region is looking at the other in the different main social areas. The analysis will look at common and diverging interpretations of social developments and trends from an intercultural perspective. Some aspects of particular importance which will be considered are: the role of the new (vulnerable) middle classes, the adequacy of welfare systems to the new configuration of demands and social needs (ageing, diversity, female participation in the labour market, etc. ), employment and social cohesion. Finally, it will be analysed how and whether the different models of "European Welfare state" remain a benchmark in the Latin American political discourse and how social progress in LAC in the last two decades is being perceived in Europe.

Scientific approaches in LAC towards “Social Europe”

We will analyse how 5 countries in the different CELAC sub regions have studied and interpreted, in approximately the last five years, social developments in Europe. These countries will be selected taking into account their relevance in shaping the public discourse in LAC (b) the intensity of their relations with EU countries. This specific analysis will be framed by a broader historical reconstruction of the (mutual or diverging) evolution of welfare systems in EU and LAC.

Four key research questions will guide the analysis:

  1. by reference to the social reality in Europe, the evolution of its welfare systems and the ongoing debate in Europe on this area “which topics stand out in Latin American research on the European social models?”;
  2. what are the interpretations and most prominent and recurring visions?
  3. is it possible - and if so, how – to identify a dominant discourse about the evolution in the EU towards new emerging models of welfare?
  4. which commonalities and common values are highlighted?

Scientific approaches in the EU towards “Social Latin America”

We will analyze how 5 EU countries have studied and interpreted in approx. the last five years social developments in LAC. These countries will be selected taking into account:

  1. their relevance in shaping the public discourse in Europe
  2. the intensity of their relations with LAC countries. Mirroring the previous task, specific analysis will be framed by a broader historical reconstruction of the (mutual or diverging) evolution of welfare systems in EU and LAC

Four key research questions will also guide the analysis:

  1. by reference to the social reality in LAC countries, the evolution of there welfare systems and the ongoing debate in LAC on this area “which topics stand out in European research on the LAC social models?”;
  2. what are the interpretations and most prominent and recurring visions?
  3. is it possible - and if so, how– to identify a dominant discourse about the evolution in LAC and the current wave of social and political reforms in
  4. which commonalities and common values are highlighted?

EU-LAC joint scientific production on social issues

Central object of analysis in this task are joint scientific outputs (e.g. co-publications, papers, etc.) between researchers from LAC and EU, which deal with social realities and policies in both regions and their interdependences. ZSI will conduct a small and very focused co-publication analysis to identify the most productive actors in this field. Most prominent topics will be identified and the research approaches set in comparison to results of the previous 2 previous sub-tasks.

Finally, Euro -Latin American training initiatives (in particular at the level of postgraduate studies) related to social issues will be identified. This will highlight current and prospective areas of convergence.

Mutual influence in designing and reforming social cohesion policies in UE and LAC

The task will be focused on the effects of EU- LAC relations in promoting social cohesion in the two regions. In particular, it aims to find empirical evidence of reciprocal influences in the definition and refinement of social policies, with reference in particular to ongoing reforms, the current discourse and the proposals for new designs of well-being and social integration.

EC Regional Cooperation Programmes for Social Cohesion with Latin America

EurosociAL II and SOCIEUX will be analysed as important examples for cooperation programs of the European Union. The focus of analysis will be on:

  1. the main fields and topics of interest for Latin American governments around the potential European contribution regarding social cohesion policies;
  2. the implemented plans and reforms of Latin American governments in which European public contribution has had a direct influence;
  3. the Latin American policies that have aroused greater interest in European public administrations;
  4. the evaluation by a sample of actors participating in two cooperation programs with respect to the value and usefulness of the peer-to-peer learning and experience exchanges between European and Latin American institutions.

References to European experiences of welfare

In interaction with the 2 previous subtasks, we will explore whether there are presence of citations and references to European welfare experiences in three different areas:

  1. political and legislative reforms in 5 LAC countries
  2. the agenda and proposals of regional integration bodies (Mercosur, SICA, Andean Community, etc.);
  3. the agenda and the proposals of international organizations with influence in national agendas (ECLAC, ILO, etc.).

The references will be classified in order to make way for an interpretive framework for the policy areas of social cohesion where

  1. manifestation of major Latin American interest in European trajectory is evident;
  2. a strong common value base is revealed about the future of welfare based on shared traditions and a community feeling.

Comparative analysis of respective approaches to social inclusion

The task looks at differences and similarities between LAC and EU regarding the approaches adopted in key areas of social cohesion, referring in particular to welfare regimes. This is expected to highlight a common vision of democracy and of the challenges that societies of the two regions must address in order to secure the well-being of citizens. Also, the abovewill outline some areas of political dialogue between the two regions through which social relations will be strengthened.

Policies to promote social inclusion in EU and LAC

Conceptual schemes of policies for social inclusion in the two regions will be compared (for example, EU minimum income schemes, LAC conditional cash transfer programs, etc.). Particular attention will be drawn to the links between social welfare programs and measures for employment and the role they play in social protection systems to combat inequality. Transversely, emphasis will be placed on policies adopted to promote gender equality (policies for wage equality, the participation of women in the labour market, etc.) and on policies/measures adopted to fight discrimination by reason of origin or ethnic group (e.g. systems of quotas for black people, anti-discrimination laws, etc.). Deliverable 5.3 will also highlight outstanding inspiring cases from both regions where such political measures had observable impact on social inclusion and might therefore serve as models for replication.

Promotion of territorial cohesion

National policies for regional development will be compared, taking into account categories such as analytical approaches, coordination between different levels of government and among actors, sources and methods of financing, among others. The task will be concentrated on regional policies that target less developed areas in order to help them to reduce the economic, social and territorial disparities. More precisely, it will be explored how they implement an integrated place-based approach by tailoring objectives and actions aiming at social inclusion in marginalized territories.

Synthesis report on STI relations - interpretation and suggestions

In parallel to Work Package 4, this task will synthesize the outcomes of the previous tasks of this WP and feed them into the cross-cutting topic discussion process in WP2, the vision building activities in WP6 and the dissemination activities of WP7. It will describe the lessons learned and outline selected best practice examples of bi-regional collaboration in the social dimension with special focus on enhancing the involvement of social actors, which can have a model character for future bi-regional actions.





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