Researchers and policymakers alike have lauded the European Union’s foreign policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean as an example for successful EU policy coordination across different policy areas internally, and across regional partners — countries and organizations alike — externally. Since the early 2000s the EU has slowly moved away from such a unified foreign policy approach towards the continent. However, the success of the policy at the time, and the degree of coherence observed still make the 1990s a prime example for studying how EU foreign policy coherence can originate. While past research on EU-Latin American relations has pointed to the policy’s success overall, less attention has been paid to its origins. The aim of this paper is thus to understand whether the EU’s foreign policy at the time was truly the result of strategic choices. To achieve this, the origins and further development of the EU’s Latin America policy will be traced in line with the EU’s institutional development. The paper will argue that EU-internal institutional and political conditions after the Treaty of Maastricht allowed for the development of a strategy for a foreign policy towards Latin America. Its ultimate success, however, can be explained by a political and economic opening in Latin America.
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