Prior to the establishment of CELAC, the Rio Group was an important framework for dialogue between the EU and LAC.
The Rio Group was originally established by six Latin American countries in 1986 as a political forum to facilitate the discussion of topics of common interest. The Group eventually expanded to 23 countries including all Latin American countries plus the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, and Cuba has joined. The remaining Caribbean countries were represented by one of the full Caribbean members.
The Rio Group dialogue with the EU was institutionalized in 1990. Until the creation in 1999 of the EU-Latin America and Caribbean Summit process, the EU-Rio Group meetings were the sole framework of political dialogue between the EU and the Latin American countries on key issues for the partnership (human rights, poverty reduction, peace and security, drugs, etc).
The EU and the Rio Group met at Ministerial level met approximately every two years alternatively in each region and on alternate years to the EU-LAC Summits.
The last EU/Rio Group Ministerial meeting took place in Prague on 14 May 2009. It concluded with the adoption of a Joint Statement addressing the key themes of the meeting: 1. renewable sources of energy: a sustainable approach to energy security and climate change and 2. recovery of financial stability and growth of the world economy. It also adopted a declaration of solidarity and support with the countries most affected by the Novel flu virus, particularly Mexico.
The Rio Group merged with CALC (“Cumbres América Latina y Caribe” – internal LAC Summits) in 2010, under the framework of CELAC, which now represents the whole region in the dialogues with third countries and regional groups.
In the margins of the EU-RIO Group Ministerial meeting, several sub-regional meetings took place: