Reflection Forum 2018 “Why should the EU be of relevance for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)? And why should LAC be of relevance for the EU?”

The 2018 Reflection Forum Edition was held in the College of Europe, in Bruges from 20th to 21st of March under the theme “Why should the European Union (EU) be of relevance for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)? And why should LAC be of relevance for the EU?”. The event organised by the EU-LAC Foundation had the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Belgium and the European Commission, as well as the voluntary contributions of its Member Countries and in particular the European Union and Germany.

The Reflection Forum is part of the mandate of the Foundation to encourage debates on priority issues on the agenda of the Strategic Partnership European Union (EU) - Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and provide inputs to the intergovernmental process from the economic, academic and other sectors of civil society.

Two recently published documents were at the centre of the debate: the study prepared by the University of the West Indies The Caribbean in the European Union-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Partnership commissioned by the EU-LAC Foundation, and the report Why does Latin America matter? published by the Elcano Royal Institute.

Moreover, thanks to, notably, funding from Spain, the Foundation commissioned the paper Why should the European Union be relevant to Latin America and the Caribbean?, which is being prepared by the consortium led by CRIES from Argentina and comprised by researchers from CIDOB in Spain, the GIGA Institute in Germany, ITAM in Mexico, the Brazilian PUC-Rio and the Spanish UAM. Four of the researchers involved in the preparation of these papers are part of the team of experts participating in the Reflection Forum.

The plenary sessions and the three working groups discussed the issues Why should the EU be relevant to LAC ?, and why should LAC be of relevance to the EU? paying particular attention to the aspects of Climate Change, Trade and Multilateralism. These three topics will be the central themes of the next EU-CELAC Ministerial Meeting.

The Forum had academic inputs from three experts in the bi-regional relations: Dr. Carlos Malamud (Spain) from the Elcano Royal Institute, Dr. Annita Montoute (Saint Lucia) from the University of West Indies – Saint Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago, and Dr. Nicolás Comini (Argentina) from the Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales (CRIES).

The moderation and rapporteur of the three working groups had the participation of several invited experts: Guy Edwards (UK), Brown University; Jourdy James (Cuba), University of Havana;  Stephan Sberro (Mexico), Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico; Philippe de Lombaerde (Belgium), United Nations University – Belgium; Sándor Gyula Nagy (Hungary), Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade/Corvinus University of Budapest and Andrea Hoffmann (Brazil), Pontifícia Universidade Católica – Rio.

The Forum complemented the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico and the Elcano Royal Institute, which began the reflection at a meeting organised in Brussels in May 2017.

Within the framework of the Reflection Forum, the EU-LAC Foundation signed two cooperation agreements with the Centro de Educación a Distancia para el Desarrollo Económico y Tecnológico (“Fundación CEDDET”) and with the College of Europe, the institution that hosted the celebration of the Forum. 

Please visit the "Reflection Forum 2018" Album at Flickr