Latin America and the Caribbean encompass 33 countries and 625 million people. They are moving quickly from developing countries to emerging and fast-growing economies and are looking at Europe to find a common approach to creating an internal market based on harmonised regulations and policy-making.
The European Commission cooperation with Latin America includes regulatory harmonisation, R&D cooperation and support for a submarine fiber-optic cable between Europe and Latin America.
Cooperation is framed by EU and CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Heads of States and Governments who adopted a Declaration and an Action Plan at the last EU-CELAC summit in June 2015.
Regulatel, the Forum of Latin America telecoms Regulators, has signed at the end of 2013 a memorandum of understanding with BEREC, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications. In June 2015, the financing was finalised for a submarine optic fibre cable linking Lisbon to Fortaleza and from there, interconnecting RedCLARA, the South American research & education network and GEANT, the European research & education network. The cable is expected to be operational before the end of 2017.
The Commission also actively participates in the eLAC Ministerial Conferences organised by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). eLAC is a regional action plan for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), whose long-term vision is to promote ICT as a tool for economic development and social inclusion.
Furthermore, specific bilateral relations with the EU include: