Latam, EU leaders seek closer ties as Russia-Ukraine war casts long shadow

By Eliana Raszewski

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Latin American and European Union (EU) leaders called for closer and better ties between their regions on Thursday at a meeting in Buenos Aires, while lamenting Russia's invasion of Ukraine for stoking global inflation, poverty and the risk of recession.

"There in the north missiles are fired, but here in the south we go hungry," Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said at a meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

He said Europe was the go-to partner for his region, which needs more investment after double hits from the Covid-19 pandemic and war.

Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, said the impact of the war in Ukraine was being felt in all corners of the world, pushing up prices of fertilizers, energy and food, hammering prospects for growth and hurting climate change goals.

"I am very afraid that we are heading towards a global recession and that achieving our sustainable development goals by 2030 will be more difficult than it already was," he said.

Both leaders highlighted the need to increase ties and trade between the two blocs, with Borrell calling for the two regions' trade agreements to be "modernized and completed". He argued though that the EU was already the region's top investor.

Fernandez said Latin America had natural resources the world needs but called for help developing them. Argentina itself, home to the huge Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas formation, is seeking investment to build up its gas export capacity.

"In Latin America we have the resources that Europe needs. We need from Europe the technology, the research, the science that essential to make better use of our resources," Fernandez said. "It is time for us to join forces once and for all."

(Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Additional reporting by Lucila Sigal; Editing by Adam Jourdan and David Gregorio)