European Union External Action

EU and Latin American and Caribbean leaders agree to deepen their partnership

12/06/2015 - 00:00

Leaders from the EU and the Latin American and Caribbean Countries met in the context of the EU-CELAC summit in Brussels to discuss ways to deepen their ties and forge a partnership for the next generation.

EU-CELAC Summit family photo

The EU-CELAC partnership brings together 61 countries and over 1 billion people. Leaders agreed to strengthen their political and economic ties as well as focusing their partnership on clear deliverables for their citizens. The summit called for more cooperation on peace and security, an agreement to step up cooperation on climate change as well as on shaping the post-2015 development agenda and fighting drugs crimes.  The EU also announced that it is working towards the establishment of an EU Trust Fund in support of the Colombian post-conflict phase, which can be operational by the start of the implementation of the agreement.  New efforts to increase people to people ties include stepping up transatlantic connectivity, investment in joint education programmes, and concrete projects to boost trade and investment.

Speaking at the opening of the summit, High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini said that the partnership between both regions "is most of all a partnership based on people. We share a lot of past, but we also share the challenges of today and shaping the future for next generations."

The summit was also an opportunity for HR/VP Mogherini to meet with several Heads of State and Government as well as Foreign Ministers from the region including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba,  Equador, Panama and Peru. All meetings focused on concrete steps to deepen ties. The meeting with Argentina and Brazil focused on the bilateral relationship and the EU-Mercosur agreement.  With Brazil, discussions were also held on climate change and the post-2015 Development goals as well as cooperation to deepen the partnership. Climate and Development were also important topics in the meetings with Costa Rica as well as relations with Central America and migration. In addition to these topics the meeting with Peru also focused on cooperation on security and defence and facilitating people to people contacts including visa waiver.  The EU proposed to deepen relations with Peru via a potential upgrade of the existing bilateral agreement.

With Colombia, the meeting focused on the current peace process and the way forward.  Discussions with Mexico were also held, in view of an upgrade of the current bilateral agreement and negotiation of the Passenger Names Rights (PNR).

In the meeting with Cuba, they discussed the EU-Cuban relations and other regional and global issues of common interest. The HRVP encouraged a further acceleration of negotiations for a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA)  and welcomed the upcoming meeting of the structured dialogue on Human Rights.  The meeting with Panama focused on bilateral and regional relations and the upcoming opening of an EU diplomatic office in Panama was also discussed.

Finally, the HR/VP also participated with Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship to the ceremony of the initialling of EU visa waivers agreement Colombia and Peru, in presence of the Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, and Ollanta Humala, President of Peru, as well as Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar, Foreign Minister of Colombia, Gonzalo Gutierrez Foreign Minister of Peru.

Foreign Ministers from the region had already met prior to the summit under the chairmanship of the High Representative to discuss pressing issues for both regions.  They were also present at the signing ceremony of the EU-LAC Foundation, which has now been upgraded to an international organisation working on behalf of the governments and citizens of the 61 countries of the EU and the CELAC region. Two awards from the LAC foundation were given to two organisations to reward their work in improving people's lives on both continents.

On Friday HR/VP Mogherini also attended the EU-Mexico summit and met with the Mexican Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade Kuribreña.

A separate meeting in the margins of the summit was held with Trade Ministers from Mercosur and Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström.  A Joint declaration Mercosur – European Union Ministerial Meeting - Joint Communiqué, followed this meeting.

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