EU-LAC Strategic Partnership
The Strategic Partnership between the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) seeks to promote options for a socio-economic model where knowledge transfer, education and sustainable development bring countries and regions closer together while reducing poverty levels and social exclusion, creating opportunities for all. Citizens from both regions may benefit from the opportunities that result from bi-regional cooperation, like student mobility programmes, research networks, capacity building for job market inclusion, and many more. In short, the bi-regional partnership is working to create a new environment where societies are brought closer together and work towards a common goal.
The Strategic Partnership was first launched in June 1999 at the First EU-LAC Summit of Heads of State and Government in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Since then, Summits have been held approximately every two years, accompanied by an increasing number of initiatives by governments and non-governmental actors that take place between and alongside the Summits. In essence, the Strategic Partnership between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean is a political process between the governments of both regions to deepen their relations and develop a joint global vision.
The EU-LAC Foundation was created to link these different initiatives and to make the relationship more dynamic and inclusive by gathering scholars, non-governmental organisations, economic actors, government representatives and others to exchange their views. The integration of these actors is key for the success of a Strategic Partnership. The EU-LAC Foundation provides a platform for them to meet, communicate and debate ideas on moving the two regions forwards by bringing them closer together. Its four programmes (Communicate, Venture, Explore and Connect) have particular ways of interacting with civil society individuals and organizations, thus placing them at the forefront of bi-regional integration.
Today Latin America, the Caribbean and the EU seek deeper cooperation in addressing common political, economic and social issues. For example, the EU, its members and countries of LAC have concluded various trade and political cooperation agreements. Political dialogue takes place at different levels and on a wide range of issues including, for instance, Research and Innovation, the World Drug Problem, Migration, and other global issues. Additionally, development cooperation programmes are being carried out in many fields to support this dialogue.