The Roadmap to the EU-CELAC Summit needs a strong focus on an enabling space for CSOs

Under the framework of “Renewing the bi-regional partnership to strengthen peace and sustainable development” Ministers of foreign affairs from the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) met on the 27th of October, in Buenos Aires. 

The meeting was the first formal EU-CELAC Ministerial after four years and marked the resumption of the EU-Latin America bi-regional dialogue, in view of the upcoming EU-CELAC Summit next year. During the meeting, Ministers discussed the post-pandemic recovery, the food and energy crisis, climate change, the undermining of our democratic systems and multilateral order, and the defence of human rights. Following the meeting, the foreign ministers published a press release and agreed on a roadmap to upgrade the relationship between both regions, which paves the way towards the EU-LAC Summit that will take place in Brussels in the second half of 2023, under the Spanish Presidency of the European Union. 

SOLIDAR welcomes the revamping of the EU-Latin America relations but, at the same time, would have expected a stronger focus on social inclusion and social cohesion and on ensuring an enabling space for CSOs . 

For this reason, we will keep engaging with members and partners in Latin America and the Caribbean and advocate for: 

  • A true partnership aiming at the reduction of inequalities, the respect of human rights and the protection of rule of law and the democratic space. In this sense, it is a priority to ensure an enabling space for civil society organisations and human and environmental rights defenders. 

  • A true partnership that moves away from the traditional approach of economic growth and instead focuses on just transition, activating accountability mechanisms for multinationals to enforce international conventions promoting labour and environmental rights

A good sign in this direction has been the Standing Parliamentary Committees of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) that met in Brussels last week, from the 30th of November to the 2nd of December 2022. Among the consultations held, it is important to highlight the Civil Society Forum that took place on the 1st of December. It is of paramount importance that European and Latin American civil society organisation and trade unions are part of the process of reshaping of the relationship between the European Union and Latin America. 

In this regard, SOLIDAR counts on DLAT to ensure that they will prioritize the promotion of sustainable development where the respect of International Labour Standards and environmental rights are prioritized, together with the active promotion of an enabling environment for Civil Society Organisations.