SANTIAGO, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Latin American, Caribbean and European leaders are set to meet here on Saturday and Sunday and are expected to push ahead the "strategic alliance" they initiated 14 years ago.
At a bi-regional summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1999, Europe and Latin America forged an ambitious "strategic alliance" to strengthen economic and trade cooperation based on broad political dialogue.
The alliance, however, stumbled due to the global economic crisis, which now is an overriding reason for both sides to work together to face the challenges of the 21st century.
The 2008 crisis, which was born in the United States and had spread to the rest of the world, marked the end of a period of economic expansion and the beginning of an era of financial insecurity and instability that has impacted Europe and, to a lesser degree, Latin America.
While the EU is trying to prop up its economy, uncertainty and insecurity persist, affecting the entire eurozone, especially Spain and Portugal, the two countries with the strongest ties to Latin America.
Latin America and Europe have more than 500 years of shared history and culture due to the old-time colonial explorations of Spain and Portugal, making the two regions' economies and politics closely linked.
Among Europe's biggest hurdles are how to find new sources for economic growth and how to pay off sizeable public and private debts, while guaranteeing the supply of goods. This is where Latin American countries can offer significant opportunities.
Latin America and the Caribbean have managed to dodge the full weight of the economic crisis, the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s, giving the region great opportunities to consolidate its strategic alliance with Europe.
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