At the meeting between the European Union and Latin America that took place in Brussels in 2015, the world was different: there was no war in Europe, Germany and Russia were friends, France was seeking greater autonomy from the United States, the United Kingdom was part of the EU, Sweden and Finland were neutral. In Latin America, Cristina in Argentina, Dilma in Brazil, Michelle in Chile, Evo in Bolivia, Rafael in Ecuador, and Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico were governing, almost all of whom would hand over their governments to the right wing. In that II Summit, there was talk of "a common future" and other good intentions. Little progress was made on the former. The pandemic arrived from China, and there was little solidarity from Europe, but much from Beijing, with vaccines. For eight years, there was no other Summit, and Latin America had already lost all the progress made in terms of political dialogue among the leaders due to the paralysis of bodies such as UNASUR, ideological rivalries and the distancing between countries, mainly due to the situations in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

This III Summit, which has just ended after eight years of recess, is ambitious, as are all of them, at least in terms of the agenda to be addressed. This time there was climate change, ecological transition, digital transformation, the defense of human rights, peace, innovation and the fight against inequality. Although not explicitly mentioned, there were other topics of interest to the Europeans: the war in Ukraine and the growing presence of China on the global stage and in Latin America in particular. The EU wanted to invite President Zelenski to the Summit, and they also did their best to include in the final declaration a condemnation of Russia, but the consent of the Latin American and Caribbean countries was not given, despite the fact that some countries were in agreement.

The region has refused to send arms and some refuse outright to condemn Russian aggression. The alignment of the EU and NATO with the United States, in their assessment of the threat from Russia and China, is practically total and they hope, with patience, to add CELAC. The effort has already begun with the visits to the region of the High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, Josep Borrell, who traveled in 2022 to announce the "Route 2023" aimed at unblocking the negotiations with MERCOSUR, the signing of the extension of the agreements with Mexico and Chile, adding to the package the so-called "strategic compass" which is a guide for joint action in security and defense matters. For her part, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, visited Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico last June and reinforced the signals by stressing the need for a "new strategic contract" and the importance of cooperation, just as the Italian Head of State, Sergio Mattarella, did recently.

Greater visibility will be given to Latin America and the Caribbean by the recently assumed presidency of Spain in the EU due to the historical ties and the strong presence of Spanish companies in practically all the countries. All of them have repeated the same message: Europe and Latin America share a similar vision of democratic societies, a culture, and a heritage that guides us in the strengthening of ties. To this, they have added more attractive things, such as the announcement of a fund of around 45 billion euros to finance investment projects in the areas of renewable energies and raw materials that Europe lacks.

Each Summit ends up marked by enthusiasm. This new horizon and promises of cooperation did not achieve one of the EU's objectives at the III Summit: the condemnation of Russia, despite the fact that voices such as the Chilean president, Gabriel Boric, described it as an "unacceptable war of imperial aggression." He also took the opportunity to criticize the regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua for human rights violations and lack of democracy. In short, the balance of the III Summit showed the unity of the EU and the disunity of Latin America and the Caribbean. The closing of the agreement between the Europeans and MERCOSUR, together with the promises of large investments, were left on hold. The meetings with Europe carry the weight of 300 years of an unequal relationship where the condemnations of the colonial past still surface. It remains to be seen what China will do, a country with a strong presence in the region and whose "Silk Road" continues to offer attractions free of impositions and alignments.