For the first time, the 5th Ordinary Meeting of the Board of Governors of the EU-LAC International Foundation was held in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg in the framework of the Foundation’s 10th anniversary, on 24 November 2021.
This was the second ordinary session of 2021 and the fifth since its transformation into an international organisation, in which the members of the Board of Governors were able to adopt the decisions and resolutions necessary for the proper operational and programmatic functioning of the Foundation, in accordance with the provisions of the Foundation's Constitutive Agreement, which came into force on 17 May 2019. This 5th Meeting of the Foundation’s Board of Governors represented a monumental encounter as it was the first in-person meeting to be held in Hamburg, its host city and took place in the framework of the 10th anniversary of the Foundation since its establishment in Hamburg in November 2011.
In an intense and productive three-hour meeting session, the President of the EU-LAC Foundation, Leire Pajín Iraola, and the Executive Director, Dr Adrián Bonilla, presented various reports and initiatives to the Board and reported on the progress of the actions to be carried out in the framework of its transformation of the Foundation into an international organisation. In this sense, they reported on the status of ratification of the Constitutive Agreement and the Headquarters Agreement, on members' contributions and the financial sustainability of the Foundation, as well as on the activities developed throughout the year 2021. Likewise, three important documents were presented for consideration and approval to the Board. First, the Annual Work Programme and Budget 2022; second, the Draft of Internal Regulation of the Foundation; and third, a set of Agreements with Partners. All proposals and documents were very well received and approved by the Board.
The members acknowledged and placed emphasis on the important and very active work of the EU-LAC International Foundation to make visible and promote the bi-regional dialogue between different actors in Latin America, the Caribbean (LAC) and the European Union (EU), despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic since early 2020. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell Fontelles, congratulated the Foundation on the occasion of its 10th anniversary in a video message and reaffirmed that its mission to improve and promote EU-LAC relations “is needed because Europe certainly feels absent, and they perceive us as absent in LAC. We need to be more present; we need to get to know each other better." The authorities of the EU-LAC Foundation, President Leire Pajín and Executive Director, Adrián Bonilla, availed this occasion to reiterate their commitment to promote the strategic partnership between the EU and CELAC through the Foundation as an indispensable instrument in the bi-regional dialogue.
The formal meeting was followed by a reception which was offered by the Senate of the City of Hamburg to all delegates at its city hall, where Senator Andy Grote acknowledged the importance of the CELAC-EU partnership to Germany and the major role the city of Hamburg has played in bringing both regions together, dating back to the 17th Century. Afterwards, the Cervantes Institute in Hamburg concluded the day by hosting a concert by the musical duo Lux Nova in its emblematic Chilehaus to all delegates.
We thank our Co-Presidencies, as well as the representatives of the 32 Member delegations of EU and LAC that participated in this successful meeting.
The Board of Governors of the EU-LAC Foundation is comprised of 61 members: 27 from the EU countries, 33 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and the European Union through its institutions. The EU-LAC Foundation’s Board of Governors is convened on regular sessions twice per year – co-chaired by the Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States (CELAC) via its Pro Tempore Presidency and the European Union (EU) via the European External Action Service (EEAS) – and oversees the management of the Foundation, ensuring that the Foundation is working towards its goals of contributing to the strengthening of the CELAC-EU bi-regional partnership process.