Latin America and the European Union (EU)
The European Union and Latin America have enjoyed a Strategic Partnership since the first bi-regional Summit in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 1999. They are natural allies linked by strong historical, cultural and economic ties. They co-operate closely at international level and maintain an intensive political dialogue at all levels - regional, sub regional (Central America, Andean Community and Mercosur) and also more and more at bilateral level.
EU policy priorities towards Latin America are defined in the recently adopted Communication "EU-Latin America: Global players in Partnership" 2009 [55 KB] that updates the Communication on a "Stronger Partnership between the European Union and Latin America" 2005 [454 KB] This represents, as Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner stated: "another visible and tangible step towards the strengthening of our already well established and flourishing relationship”. Issues such as macro economic and financial matters; environment, climate change and energy; science, research and technology; migration; and, finally, employment and social affairs figure prominently in bi-regional dialogues.
The regional strategy paper 2007-2013 [139 KB] defines the specific areas for regional development cooperation programmes. For the 2007-2013 period, EU assistance amounts to around € 3 billion, while for the same period the European Investment Bank is authorized to lend up to €2.8 billion.
The EU is the leading investor in the region and the second trading partner of Latin America.
The political leaders of the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) hold a meeting in the context of the Summit every two years. They last met in Madrid in May 2010 and the next meeting will take place in Santiago de Chile on 26-27 January 2013.
On alternate years to the EU-LAC Summits, there are meetings at Ministerial level between the EU and the Rio Group. The last EU-Rio Group ministerial meeting took place in Prague in 2009.