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, sub regional (Central America, the Caribbean, Andean Community and Mercosur) and, increasingly, at bilateral level.
Summits of the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) leaders take place biennially, the last one was held in Madrid, Spain in May 2010, and the next one will be held in Santiago, Chile, in January 2013.
HRVP Catherine Ashton has said: "The EU is following with interest the dynamics of Latin America and I believe we need to find even more ambitious ways of working together."
EU-CELAC -A Strategic Partnership for the 21st century
Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), launched in 2010, is a regional mechanism for political dialogue and cooperation encompassing for the first time all 33 LAC countries. It merged the Rio Group (political consultation forum) and CALC (“Cumbres América Latina y Caribe” – internal LAC Summits). From now on CELAC will be the EU's counterpart for the bi-regional partnership process, including at summit level.
Apart from the biennial summits and regular Senior Officials’ Meetings, the EU and CELAC are pursuing a number of specific thematic dialogues and initiatives including:
Latest European Union High Level visits to the region
EU-CELAC Leaflet [823 KB]
For more information on the EU policy towards the region: