Brussels, 18 July 2023 (TDI): After eight years since their last gathering, EU leaders and leaders from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) united in Brussels for the third EU-CELAC Summit on 17-18 July 2023.

Co-chaired by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the CELAC pro tempore president, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves, the summit focused on renewing their longstanding partnership based on shared values, interests, and robust economic, social, and cultural ties.

The summit produced a joint declaration, supported by all participating countries except one due to a disagreement on a particular paragraph.

EU and CELAC leaders committed to holding summits every two years, reflecting their dedication to building a strong and continuous collaborative effort.

Multilateralism and global peace

Multilateralism was at the heart of the discussions, with leaders emphasizing their shared commitment to democracy, human rights, the rule of law, inclusive multilateralism, and cooperation in line with the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and international law.

This collaboration is significant as the combined strength of the EU, Latin America, and the Caribbean represents over a third of the UN membership and supports a rules-based multilateral system.

Moreover, the summit’s efforts to combat global peace and security challenges were a key focus.

Leaders expressed concern over the ongoing war in Ukraine and pledged support for a just and sustainable peace, particularly about the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Additionally, they called for continued efforts to promote dialogue and address Haiti’s deteriorating security and humanitarian situation.

The leaders also showed their support for the peace process and the 2016 peace agreement in Colombia and encouraged constructive dialogue in the Venezuelan-led negotiations in Mexico City.

They reiterated their opposition to laws and regulations with extraterritorial effects, notably the embargo imposed against Cuba.

Climate change and sustainable development

Climate change and sustainable development were high on the agenda, with leaders committing to protect the planet and fight climate change.

They vowed to cooperate in mitigating the adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation, aligning with international agreements and conventions on sustainable development, climate change, biodiversity, desertification, and ocean protection.

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Trade and investment

Trade and investment also featured prominently, with leaders recognizing the importance of open and fair trade for sustainable development.

Total trade in goods and services between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean amounted to €369 billion in 2022, highlighting the significance of their densest trade network.

Leaders welcomed the ongoing work on trade agreements between the EU, Chile, and Mexico and discussed ways to further strengthen economic and trade ties between the regions.

Digitization, justice, and health

The summit’s joint declaration on a digital alliance stressed the importance of promoting a responsible and inclusive digital transition, including measures to protect privacy rights, enhance digital connectivity and cybersecurity, and build trust in the digital economy.

Meanwhile, the leaders also committed to consolidating their partnership on justice and security, combatting organized crime, corruption, and money laundering.

Furthermore, regarding health resilience, the EU and CELAC pledged to advance work on local manufacturing of vaccines, medicines, and health technologies and strengthen health systems to better respond to public health emergencies.