Brussels, Belgium – There are only two weeks left for the summit of the European Union with the bloc of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the chips are already beginning to move. The countries of the Latin American bloc have already put their draft conclusions on the table, to which France 24 had access in Spanish, in which Ukraine is not specifically mentioned or its support – as the Twenty-seven do request – and request reparations for the colonialism and slavery.
On the eve of the summit between the European Union and the countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which will be held in just two weeks in Brussels, the capital of the EU, there are beginning to be movements in various directions. Specifically, in the request for reparations for the slave-owning past.
“We deeply recognize and regret the untold suffering inflicted on millions of men, women and children as a result of the transatlantic trade in African slaves, and we recognize the need to take appropriate measures to restore the dignity of the victims, including reparations and compensation to try to cure our collective memory”, assures the draft of the Latin American bloc.
The reference to the war in Ukraine is possibly one of the most sensitive points of this summit. The Twenty-seven have spent weeks preparing an explicit reference that not all CELAC delegations like.
In their draft they ask for “a serious and constructive diplomatic solution to the current conflict in Europe, in a peaceful way, that guarantees the sovereignty and security of all, as well as regional and international peace, stability and security.” A much more ambiguous language than the Twenty-seven bet.
With the draft conclusions, the invitation to a speech at the summit by the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky, could also be complicated. Among some Latin American delegations it causes misgivings, just as doubts have been cast on how a speech by videoconference by the Ukrainian president could fit into a summit that, after all, seeks to strengthen relations between the EU and CELAC, not with Ukraine.
Trade relations and the environment, key points of the meeting
The text mentions one of the points that most interests the European side, trade. “Our two regions have strong trade and investment ties, which can be important drivers of sustainable growth and development,” the document reads.
Likewise, they recognize “the importance of trade agreements” and “take note” of the two modernized agreements with Chile and Mexico and “await the future signing and approval of the agreement between the EU and Mercosur.”
They also stress that these agreements that promote “sustainable development” must be applied based on “the context of each of the parties, and in no way should it constitute the basis for establishing trade without tariffs.”
The text includes other references such as the fight for climate change, one of the objectives that both blocs have always defended, as well as the need to “strengthen cooperation” and maintain friendly relations “regardless of the differences in our political systems and taking into account consideration the differences between different levels of economic and social development”.
The mention of this issue opens the door for the Latin American bloc to support the European proposal to hold more frequent meetings —of foreign ministers and heads of state and government— as the European Commission proposed a month ago. “We will work to strengthen cooperation and coordination, where appropriate, in relevant multilateral fora on issues of common interest.”
In search of crossed concerns
A summit between the EU and Celac has not been held since 2015 and what the European bloc aspires to is to maintain more open and more fluid channels of communication than they have been up to now. In fact, it is expected that from the summit that will be held on July 17 and 18 in Brussels, the place of the next summit will already come out and it is studied that it can be in Colombia in 2025.
On the other hand, the draft mentions individual countries such as Cuba, where they call for an “end to the blockade” of the country and request that the island be removed from the list of “sponsors of terrorism”, despite the fact that both decisions They are not the responsibility of the European Union, but of the United States.
After this draft, the European countries, which analyzed it this Friday, expect to give their response next week. European diplomatic sources indicate that they consider that a week before the summit is when they will try to bring positions closer, in which all parties feel comfortable with the conclusions.
For example, in the case of the war in Ukraine or the issue of reparations, it is being studied to include language similar to that already used in the resolutions voted by the United Nations Assembly, in which everyone can see a position reflected in an internationally accepted language.
On the other hand, CELAC sources explain that this draft —which was prepared much less in advance than it usually is in this type of meeting— tries to better reflect the Latin American position because they feel that the European proposal did not meet all the needs of the block.