The European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean have enjoyed privileged relations since the first bi-regional Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 1999, which established a strategic partnership. They are natural partners 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 Summits take place every two years since January 2013, date of the first summit between the EU and the Community of Latin America and Caribbean states (CELAC), established in 2010 as a new region-wide political organisation and therefore new counterpart for the EU. Brussels hosts the 2015 Summit on 10-11 June and is themed "Shaping our common future: working for a prosperous cohesive and sustainable societies for our citizens".
"The people of Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe have a long history of common aspirations…nowadays, we share a wish for peace and prosperity that our cultural and historical roots have helped to strengthen from generation to generation." Federica Mogherini, High Representative/ Vice President of the EU.
EU-CELAC -A Strategic Partnership for the 21st century
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), launched in 2010, is a regional mechanism for political dialogue and cooperation . For the first time , it involves 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). It has merged the Rio Group (political consultation forum) and CALC (“Cumbres América Latina y Caribe” – internal LAC Summits). EU-CELAC relations are structured around biennial summits, regular senior officials' meetings as well as specific thematic dialogues and initiatives including: From now on CELAC will be the EU's counterpart for the bi-regional partnership process, including at summit level.
The economic character of the relationship has also intensified these last ten years. The EU is linked to most non-EU Caribbean countries through an Economic Partnership Agreements. Free trade areas have been fully in force with Mexico and Chile since 2000 and 2005 respectively. Efforts are underway to update and modernise these two agreements. The free part of the agreements between the EU and Colombia and Peru has been provisionally applied since 2013. Ecuador initialled its accession protocol to this Agreement in December 2014. Central America and EU parties are provisionally applying a free trade area since 2013. Negotiations for a free trade area continue with Mercosur.
The EU is the main development partner of the LAC region, its second largest trade partner and its first investor.
NEWS - EbS SPECIAL
RECORDED HRVP Federica MOGHERINI in Cuba (24/03/2015)
NEWS - EbS SPECIAL
RECORDED EU-CELAC Civil Society Forum (19-20/03/2015)