EU-CELAC Summit: towards a closer, stronger and renewed partnership between both regions

On 17 and 18 July, the European Union and the Community of Latin American and the Caribbean states (CELAC) held their 3rd Summit in Brussels. The meeting gathered Heads of State and Government of the EU Member States and of the 33 CELAC states for the first time in eight years.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said: “This EU-CELAC Summit felt like a new beginning between old friends. These are times of great geopolitical change and like-minded friends like the EU and Latin American and Caribbean partners need to get closer. This is what we are doing with our new Global Gateway Investment Agenda, under which we will invest more than €45 billion in the region. We want to bring benefits to local communities, and create value chains locally, in the region. This is the spirit of our partnership.”

The series of meetings started with an EU-LAC Business Round Table on Monday morning, where President von der Leyen presented the EU-LAC Global Gateway Investment Agenda (GGIA). It includes more than 135 projects to make the fair green and digital transition a reality on both sides of the Atlantic and revolves around four pillars: a fair green transition, an inclusive digital transformation, human development and health resilience and vaccines.

On this occasion, the President announced that Team Europe committed over €45 billion to support the reinforced partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean until 2027. The Summit further strengthened the partnership between the EU and the CELAC countries on shared priorities, such as the digital and green transitions, the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, health, food security, migration, security and governance or the fight against transnational crime.

During the Summit, the EU stepped up its energy cooperation with Argentina and Uruguay with the signature of two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU). The former sets out key areas of cooperation, including renewable energy, hydrogen, methane emissions abatement and stresses the need to provide a socially just energy transition. The latter highlights renewable energy, energy efficiency and renewable hydrogen as key areas of cooperation as both the EU and Uruguay strive to reach climate neutrality by 2050.

As part of the EU’s Global Gateway strategy, during the EU-CELAC Summit, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Banco Santander signed a €300 million loan to support the installation of a series of small-scale self-consumption solar photovoltaic plants in Brazil. Similarly, the EIB also announced a €200 million loan to Banco del Estado de Chile to finance new houses with better energy efficiency standards and a €100 million loan to support Chile’s growing renewable hydrogen industry.

The EU also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Chile on establishing a partnership on sustainable raw materials value chains, which will contribute to Europe’s security of supply while creating jobs and growth in Chile.

In the digital domain, the EU and Argentina, The Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay agreed to deepen their partnership by establishing an EU–LAC Digital Alliance. It provides a framework for cooperation on digital matters for the benefit of the citizens of both regions and reasserts the commitment to the digital transition.

On the margins of the Summit, the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell signed, on behalf of the EU, three Memorandums of Understanding on bilateral consultations with HondurasEl Salvador and Ecuador, providing frameworks for deepening cooperation efforts and engaging in dialogue on common agendas.

To respond to the unprecedented increase in humanitarian needs in Haiti, the EU also announced the release of an emergency funding of €10 million. It will enable humanitarian organisations to step up the response and tackle the most urgent needs, primarily focusing on food and nutrition.