During the last four years, I have had the honour of presiding over the EU-LAC Foundation, a responsibility I assumed at a critical moment due to the pandemic. Since then, I have worked altruistically alongside Adrián Bonilla and an exceptional technical team to strengthen relations between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean. Despite the difficulties imposed by the health crisis, we managed to strategically reorient our activities and create essential spaces for dialogue and exchange.

The balance of these years is undoubtedly positive. The pandemic did not stop us; on the contrary, it forced us to adapt and find new ways of interaction. During this time, we have succeeded in getting several countries to ratify the Constitutive Agreement of the Foundation, which has been a crucial step in consolidating us as a solid international organisation. This commitment has also been reflected in the financial and human support received, which has been vital to maintaining our activities.

One of our greatest achievements has been the ability to multiply our activities and partnerships. We have expanded our reach to new organisations and sectors and strengthened our networks through policy briefs, publications, and communication actions. Collaboration with universities, civil society, and other international organisations has been key to this success. Partnerships have been essential, allowing us to jointly respond to the common and complex challenges faced by our regions.

An example of this is the EU-LAC Women's International Network (EU-LAC WIN), created in November 2021. The Network, together with allied institutions, has organised interregional dialogue cycles on climate action and gender, as well as on comprehensive care systems. In this regard, one of the main goals in the near future is to implement the Roadmap for the Bi-regional Care Pact.

Collaboration with the members of the Board of Directors has also been remarkable. The constant support of the co-presidencies of CELAC and the EU, as well as of the ambassadors and members of the Council, has been fundamental. I especially want to highlight the support of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Josep Borrell, who has always trusted in the work of the Foundation. Finally, I want to deeply thank the Foundation’s technical team. Their dedication and talent have been the foundation of all our achievements. They have worked tirelessly with limited resources, demonstrating exemplary commitment.

The EU-LAC Foundation is prepared to face new challenges and continue contributing to the strengthening of bi-regional relations. The recent Summit in Brussels, a boost to the strengthening of bi-regional relations, has marked the beginning of a new stage and opened up new opportunities and challenges for us. In this context, the Foundation must and can play a significant role. The organisation still has much more capacity to follow up on the process between Summits, help implement the agreements, and catalyse these agreements with other civil society organisations and international bodies.

Looking ahead to the next EU-CELAC Summit in Colombia, we must maintain the momentum of bi-regional ties, as well as continue working to implement the agreements reached and ensure that the meeting yields concrete results and adopts appropriate cooperation instruments. This will make it possible to ensure that the green and digital transition is just and that the commitment to strengthening bi-regional relations continues.

Now, as I bid farewell to my term, I am confident that the EU-LAC Foundation will continue to prosper and successfully face future challenges, always with the goal of strengthening the alliance between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.

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