In recent years and decades, Latin America and the Caribbean have undergone transformation in various ways. They have increased both their economic and political clout, a fact reflected in the new assurance they demonstrate in the international arena. In some Latin American countries, new political movements and balances of power are leading political action in a new direction. Many countries in Latin America are seeking and finding a range of new partners in other parts of the world, particularly in Asia, but also in Africa.
Since Germany is keen to put the traditionally close ties and shared interests we have with Latin America onto a secure footing for the future, we plan to step up our engagement with the region and present our country as a reliable long‑term partner.
Strategic Partnership between the EU and Latin America
The Strategic Partnership between the EU and Latin America covers all countries in the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean and thus around one billion people. It was founded in June 1999 at the first EU‑LAC Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The two regions cooperate closely in the spheres of politics, business, culture, and science and technology. There is a tightly-woven network of diverse relationships, activities and cooperation mechanisms. A summit attended by the Heads of State and Government takes place every two years, while there are regular meetings of senior officials and, on occasion, ministerial meetings. The partnership also extends to civil society, parliaments and companies. Due to the many summits, it has been possible over the last few years to develop and refine the cooperation between the EU and Latin America. The summits serve as a forum for political dialogue on important global issues and as a catalyst for shaping concrete bilateral relations (through association or partnership agreements, direction of development assistance, etc.). Since the establishment of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in 2010, these meetings have been known as EU‑CELAC Summits.
Association agreements with particular regional groups or countries are an essential component of relations between the EU and the Latin American and Caribbean region. They are based on the three pillars of political dialogue, trade and cooperation. Following far‑reaching global or association agreements with Mexico and Chile (in force since 2000 and 2005 respectively), in 2008 the EU concluded a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM), the Caribbean states within the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). Negotiations on an association agreement with Central America and a multi‑party trade agreement with Peru and Colombia were concluded during the 2010 EU‑LAC Summit. The agreements were approved by the European Parliament in 2012 and have been in force since 2013. The negotiations on a comprehensive association agreement between the EU and Mercosur gained considerable momentum in 2016.