Eight years since their last gathering, EU leaders and leaders from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) met in Brussels for the third EU-CELAC summit. The EU-CELAC summit -17 and 18 July- meant the relaunching of bilateral relations between the two regions and also one of the key moments of the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council.
According to La Coordinadora, during its Presidency, Spain must promote that the new agenda between both regions places human rights and the people who defend them at the centre. As well as ensuring that cooperation between EU, Latin America and the Caribbean is coherent with the development of sustainable, feminist and egalitarian policies. The adoption of a European Due Diligence Directive, which ensures that all companies respect human rights and the environment, or a pact to eradicate violence against women in both regions are among the most urgent proposals that La Coordinadora addresses to the Spanish Presidency.
In a global context characterised by the closing of civic space, the participation of an active, independent and diverse civil society is crucial to decide on urgent political issues such as the climate crisis, energy transitions or social justice. This is why in the days leading up to the EU-CELAC summit La Coordinadora and a variety of representatives of civil society organisations and platforms from Latin America, the Caribbean and the EU participated in the EU-Latin America and the Caribbean Forum: Partners in Change. The aim was to ensure that our voices and proposals were taken into account in the new bi-regional roadmap to be adopted during the summit.
With the same objective more than 40 organisations sent a letter to the President of the European Council (Charles Michel), the EU High Representative (Josep Borrell), the Commissioner for International Partnerships (Jutta Urpilainen), the Spanish President (Pedro Sánchez) and the Belgian Prime Minister (Alexander de Croo). We regret that the Heads of State and Government gathered at the summit did not take into account in their final declaration the civil society proposals adopted during the EU-LAC Forum.
These proposals were focused on six critical issues: the protection of civic space and human rights; the promotion of peace, security and the fight against inequality; the defence of the environment; caring societies; and transparent investments that are accountable for their impact on the lives of people and the planet under due diligence criteria.
To continue working on this issues, La Coordinadora organised a civil society meeting in Brusels on 25 and 26 of September. More than 40 organisations from Latin America, the Caribbean and the EU met with the common objective of assessing the work carried out during the EU-Latin America and the Caribbean Forum; evaluating the commitments adopted by the States in the summit declaration and establishing our own roadmap, parallel to the official one, for the fulfilment of these commitments. We will continue to work with our Latin American, Caribbean and European partners to ensure that our demands are part of this new roadmap for the bi-regional relations.