On July 17 and 18, leaders from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the European Union (EU) are converging in Brussels, the seat of the EU, for the third CELAC-EU Summit. The two-day summit is chaired by Ralph Gonsalves, pro tempore president of CELAC and prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Charles Michel, president of the European Council.
This edition of the summit has already caused a stir, with authorities from Cuba and Venezuela strongly condemning the conduct of the EU in the preceding days, specifically regarding the format and content of the meeting, as well as political positions that have singled out members of the CELAC bloc.
Parallel to the heads of state summit, people’s movements, unions, and left parties from across Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe joined hands to organize the People’s Summit. The People’s Summit, also taking place in Brussels from July 17-18, seeks to be a democratic space for exchange and open discussion about the key issues facing the people of both regions.
The two-day program will feature speeches and interventions by movement leaders, such as Joao Pedro Stedile of the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) of Brazil, Haitian activist Camille Chalmers of the PAPDA party, Peruvian activist and feminist Aída García-Naranjo, and “Mocha.”. On the night of July 17, participants heard from prominent progressive figures such as Colombian President Gustavo Petro, British MP Jeremy Corbyn, and Jean Luc Melenchon of La France Insoumise.
Paula Andrea Polanco Palacio, a member of INTAL Globalize Solidarity and part of the organizing team of the People’s Summit, the space is “an opportunity to go beyond the officially imposed issues and raise the question of what kind of regional integration we want for our two continents and what kind of healthy, democratic and mutually beneficial relations.”