Federica Mogherini, chief of EU’s diplomacy, met in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the representatives of the Pacific Alliance at the margins of the EU-CELAC Foreign Ministers’ meeting. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was launched in 2011 and represents a regional political coordination mechanism, which gathers all 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries in the region.
The participants in the meeting discussed the future of the Pacific Alliance and its next steps in the integration of the region as well as the areas in which EU-Pacific Alliance cooperation could be further developed. Ms Mogherini reiterated the EU’s political support to the Pacific Alliance and emphasized the connections between its objectives of economic integration and the EU experience in this area. The mutual partnership deals with numerous issues including climate change, economy, peace and security as well as migration issues.
The relations between the EU and the CELAC group are comprised of a number of specific areas of common interest – political relations, trade and investment, entrepreneurship as well as cooperation on research and innovation. At the political level, an EU-CELAC Summit is held every two years. The last Summit took place in Brussels in June 2015, bringing together 61 EU and Latin American and Caribbean leaders, including more than 40 Heads of State or Government. At this summit, the leaders of both regions adopted two declarations and a revised EU-CELAC Action Plan.
In trade relations, the EU has concluded Free Trade Agreements with two LAC groupings (CARIFORUM and the Central America) and with four other Latin American countries (Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia). The accession of Ecuador to the Multi-Party Agreement with Colombia and Peru is expected to take place before the end of this year. Trade between the EU and the CELAC region has been growing rapidly. As to other endeavors, both sides have organized a summit on business and entrepreneurship and launched the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation (JIRI) with the aim to enhance EU-CELAC cooperation on science and research.