Mission of the Executive Director of the EU-LAC Foundation to Brussels

The Executive Director of the EU-LAC Foundation, Dr Adrián Bonilla, travelled to Brussels, Belgium from 11 to 13 October, where he met with several partners of the EU-LAC Foundation and attended together with the Foundation’s President, Leire Pajín, the joint session of the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (DLAT) to present the organisation to its members.

The joint session of the DLAT took place on 11 October at 11:00 am at the European Parliament and covered the relations between the European Union (EU) and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and the EU-LAC Foundation, as well as the challenge of China's presence in Latin America and the Caribbean. This event was chaired by the Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Javi López, and, furthermore, included the participation of Javier Niño, Deputy Executive Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service (EEAS), and Margaret Myers, Director of the Asia & Latin America Programme, Inter- American Dialogue.

During her intervention, the President of the EU-LAC Foundation, Leire Pajín, presented the role of the EU-LAC Foundation in the construction of common narratives between the EU and LAC, and highlighted its contribution to the rapprochement of decision-makers from both regions, including civil society, academia and further networks. She stressed the commitment of both regions to the Agenda 2030, which is illustrated by the fact of being the only two regions in the world, whose entirety are signatories of the Paris Agreement. Ms Pajín explained the mission of the international organisation to contribute to joint bi-regional solutions tackling today’s challenges through initiatives such as high-level panels and policy briefs. Moreover, in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU-LAC Foundation has served as a useful instrument between the EU and LAC through its efforts to ensure the inclusion of middle-income countries of LAC in the ongoing discussion on cooperation programmes for sustainable economic and social recovery.

Following this, the Executive Director of the EU-LAC Foundation, Dr Adrián Bonilla, introduced the Work Programme for 2022 and its strategic purpose to sustain the notion of the importance of the bi-regional partnership among the membership. Amidst the current adverse situation, the member states have regarded the Foundation as an organisation through which they can promote and enhance the visibility of the values and principles to which they feel committed; and as an instrument to engage in political dialogue on global challenges and prioritized issues of the bi-regional agenda. In 2022, the Foundation aims to organise 35 thematic activities and 13 institutional activities and processes in its 7 strategic areas Higher Education and knowledge; Science, technology and innovation; Economic and Social Development; Climate Change; Culture; Multilateralism and Bi-regional cooperation; and Gender.

The MEPs recognised the significant activities of the Foundation to strengthen bi-regional ties, appreciated the continuity of its support to their cooperation instruments and expressed their willingness to contribute to the Foundation’s future work.

Furthermore, during his time in Brussels, Dr Bonilla met with the Director of the Americas at the EEAS, Bryan Glynn, where those present discussed some perspectives for the bi-regional relationship and future activities. Additionally, his work agenda included meetings with the Argentinian Ambassador of Argentina in Belgium, Pablo Grinspun, in view of the priorities of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as with the Ambassador of Guatemala in Brussels, Jorge Lambour, to exchange on the ratification status of the Constitutive Agreement of the international organisation.

In a virtual meeting with CARIFORUM Ambassadors in Brussels, which was chaired by the Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago in Brussels as Presidency of CARIFORUM, and attended by 23 participants from 10 delegations: Trinidad Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, Belize, Cuba, Guyana, Bahamas, Suriname, Grenada, and Dominican Republic, Dr Bonilla gave a presentation of the EU-LAC Foundation and highlighted some activities foreseen in the Work Programme for 2022 in which active involvement of the countries of the region is expected. In an additional encounter with the Ambassador of Jamacia, Ms Symone Betton Nayo, the Executive Director of the EU-LAC International Foundation discussed the virtual event on sustainable tourism, co-organized by the United National Development Programme, the Ministry of Tourism of Jamaica and the EU-LAC Foundation.

The work agenda of the Foundation’s Director also included a meeting with Jolita Butkeviciene, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA) and Swati-Saint Gupta from the Service for Foreign Policy Instrument (FPI), to discuss the Foundation’s future activities and the EU support for their implementation. Moreover, Dr Bonilla held a working meeting with Claudia Gintersdorfer, Head of Unit Americas at the EEAS and Rogelio Granguillhome (Ambassador of Mexico to the European Union) to discuss the preparation and coordination of the upcoming Foundation’s Board of Governors meeting.