La European Union (EU) and Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC) launched this Tuesday in Bogotá a digital alliance with the fundamental objective of improving connectivity in the region and thus advancing in a process of Digital Transformation that generates development.

“This alliance does not focus solely on technologies but on the well-being of people. We want to work with the Colombian government, and with the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean, to improve connectivity and use technology in the best possible way for the benefit of our societies.” said at a press conference Margrethe Vestager, EU Executive Vice President for Digitization and Competition.

Speaking specifically of Colombia, the European official stressed that the new digital alliance between the two continents will serve to bring technology to remote regions of the country, generating social development.

“With this alliance we support total peace promoted by the Colombian government, because it serves to bring technology and development to areas with fewer possibilities. The alliance promotes development, but we have to advance in implementing concrete strategies that improve people's quality of life”, he insisted.

The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, and the Spanish Secretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence, Carme Artigas, also spoke virtually at the event.

On behalf of the Colombian government, they participated saul katan, Presidential Advisor for Digital Transformation; Sandra Urrutia, Minister of Information and Communication Technologies and Arturo Luna, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.

"This alliance between the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union is a great step on the road to Digital Transformation. However, it is important to note that this Digital Transformation should not be focused on technology, but on people. If we focus on the human being, we will achieve the objectives set”Said Saúl Kattan Presidential Adviser for Digital Transformation.

The ICT Minister, Sandra Urrutia, was "excited" that Colombia is the host of this important agreement with Europe and insisted that her portfolio, as part of the National Government, works hard to improve the country's connectivity.

"Technology will help shift from the extractive economy to a knowledge economy. We have already started with this Digital Transformation because the government's goal is to show results in the regions”said the minister.  

In his turn, Arturo Luna, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, assured that the alliance is a great opportunity to promote research and innovation in digital terms.

Notably The digital alliance between the European Union and Celac is part of the 'Global Gateway', the strategy of the European community bloc to build reliable and sustainable connections and infrastructures with its closest partners.

Similarly, it was reported that, taking advantage of their visit to Colombia, European officials will launch the bilateral investment package of the European Union for Colombia in digital, fair and ecological growth.

This investment will come with a focus on the use of digital technologies to support the peace agenda, the ecological transition, the conservation of natural resources, the closing of social and geographical gaps, and the reinforcement of the integral presence of the Colombian State. in the most remote regions of the country.

EU-CELAC cooperation advances

The initiative the Latin America and the Caribbean – European Union (CELAC-EU) summits emerged in Chile in 1996, during the VI Ibero-American Summit. At that time, the Spanish president, José María Aznar, proposed the creation of a permanent dialogue between the Latin American and Caribbean countries and the European Union.

The idea was supported by the European Parliament, by the EU foreign affairs ministers, and by the Rio Group, and was later ratified at the highest level in both regions. The LAC-EU summits have been taking place since 1999.

With the creation of CELAC in 2011, this mechanism resumed the institutionalized dialogue with the European Union, which is held at the level of Heads of State and Government every 2 years alternately between the two regions.

The central themes of the CELAC-EU dialogue are Science, Research, Innovation and Technology; Sustainable development; Regional integration; migrations; Education and Employment; the World Drug Problem; Gender Issues; Investments; Higher education; and Citizen Security.