Historical, cultural and linguistic ties are the cornerstones of this unique transnational and regional co-operation which the European Union has supported with around 118 million euros, over the course of 25 years of working together.
The PALOP-TL Programme with the European Union aims to promote relations between countries and strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual interest based on a common language.
By benefiting from similar governance systems and underpinned by the political commitment and determination to strengthen political, economic, social and cultural relations, the PALOP-TL cooperation with the European Union represents an opportunity for economic development, while strengthening and promoting values such as democracy, good governance and human rights.
Intervention in key sectors such as health, public finance, justice and public administration, through a South-South, triangular cooperation model and exchange of good practices among peers, has contributed to the strengthening of the institutional capacities of PALOP and Timor-Leste.
The current programme (2014/2020) prioritizes two areas, ‘employment promotion in income-generating activities in the cultural sector’ and ‘development of governance capabilities’.
In commemorating 25 years of this cooperation, it is crucial to give greater visibility to this regional grouping of countries, reinforcing the common identity of the PALOPs and East Timor through the production and spread of knowledge about their origins and the ties that unite them, with extensive cultural traditions and a ‘culture’ that has a catalytic effect on social cohesion and job creation.
A considerable asset of this partnership that must be explored is the scientific and technical knowledge generated in the past, being produced in the present and projected for the future, as well as its relevance for decision-makers and/or other stakeholders.
The PALOP-TL group, countries united around their common values, look beyond their borders in search of mutual interests, to promote the development of each country.
A new phase is being considered for the PALOP-TL/EU Programme and its sustainability.
Cohesion and ownership have provided the dynamics for the PALOP-TL group over the years and cover a wide range of domains. The prospect of working together with new challenges such as climate change or ‘new economies’ is bringing out the ‘cultural and creative industries’ as a key vector in promoting employment among the young and underprivileged sectors of the population.
The way ahead may also lie in building and strengthening the capacities of the six countries to become integrated into global networks of innovation, cutting-edge technologies and knowledge, which may boost their international integration and attract other partners (such as the private sector) with the prospect of modernising the PALOP-TL economies. For this, regional integration and ties with the surrounding regions are crucial.