Latin Union

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Headquarters Paris, France
48°46′N 2°11′E / 48.767°N 2.183°E / 48.767; 2.183
Official languages
President of the Congress
Oleg Serebrian
 •  Secretary-General José Luis Dicenta Ballester
Establishment 15 May 1954 in Madrid, Spain

The Latin Union is a defunct international organization of nations that use Romance languages, with the aim of protecting, projecting, and promoting the common cultural heritage of Latin peoples and unifying identities of the Latin, and Latin-influenced, world. It was created in 1954 in Madrid, Spain, and existed as a functional institution from 1983 to 2012. Its membership rose from 12 to 36 states, including countries in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region.[2]

The official names of the Latin Union are: Unió Llatina in Catalan, Union latine in French, Unione Latina in Italian, União Latina in Portuguese, Uniunea Latină in Romanian, and Unión Latina in Spanish.[3]

Due to financial difficulties, the Latin Union announced on 26 January 2012 the suspension of its activities, the dissolution of its Secretariat General (effective July 31, 2012) and termination of employment for all the organization's personnel.[4]


According to the Latin Union's website, membership is open to any nation that meets the following criteria:

  • Linguistic criteria :
    • Official language derived from Latin
    • Latin-derived language used in education
    • Latin-derived language commonly used in the mass media or in daily life
  • Linguistic/cultural criteria :
    • Existence of significant literature in a Latin-derived language
    • Press and publication in Latin-derived language
    • Television with a strong proportion of the programming in a Latin-derived language
    • Radio widely broadcast in a Latin-derived language
  • Cultural criteria :
    • Direct or indirect inheritance of the legacy of Ancient Rome, to which the state remains faithful and which it perpetuates mainly through the education of Latin
    • Cultural education of Latin-derived foreign languages
    • Exchange programmes with other Latin countries
    • Societal organization, particularly in the legal plane, based on respect for fundamental liberties, the general principles of human rights and democracy, tolerance, and freedom of religion

Official languages

The official languages of the Latin Union are Catalan, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish. French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish are used as working languages. All the texts of general diffusion are translated into these four languages, with some also going into Romanian and Catalan.


The Union is composed of three main bodies, namely, the Congress, the Executive Council, and the General Secretariat.


The Congress, which consists of the representatives of all the Member States, meets in ordinary assembly every two years. Its main functions are

  • to adopt the budget,
  • to define the general direction of the Union,
  • to receive the new Member States formally, and
  • to elect and appoint different Member States to be the Presidents, Vice-Presidents, and members of the sub-organisations of the Union.

A President and two Vice-Presidents are also elected by the Congress. As of December 2010, Oleg Serebrian from the Republic of Moldova is the current President.

There are also two auxiliary bodies of the Congress, namely, the Commission of Adhesions and the Commission of Candidacies.

  • The Commission of Adhesions is composed of 10 Member States and responsible for promoting the adhesions of all the Member States of the Union.
  • The Commission of Candidacies is composed of 9 Member States and responsible for examining the validity of the candidacies, taking account of the geographical and linguistic-cultural division.

Executive Council

The Executive Council is the executive branch of the Union. It consists of 12 Member States, which are elected by the Congress every four years, and led by a President and two Vice-Presidents, which are also elected by the Congress. Since December 2010 Andorra, Brazil, Ecuador, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, Uruguay, and Venezuela are the members of the council.

There are also two auxiliary commissions sub-ordinated to the Executive Council:

  • The Commission of Finance and Programmes
  • The Commission of Statues

General Secretariat

The Latin Union is directed by a Secretary-General appointed every four years by the Congress. The Secretary is in charge of the execution of the programmes and implements the decisions made by the Congress and the Executive Council in the matter of budget and general direction. Jose Luis Dicenta Ballester is currently the Secretary-General of the Union.

Subordinated to the Secretary-General, there are 4 directors:

  • Director of Administration and Finance
  • Director of Culture and Communication
  • Director of Promotion and Education of the Languages
  • Director of Terminology and Industry of the Language


The finance of the Union is mainly supported by the obligatory contributions from the Member States. For some activities, the Union may collaborate with other public or private institutions.

Map of Latin Union

Member states of the Latin Union.

See also


  1. "États membres". Latin Union. Retrieved 2013-12-06. 
  2. "Unión Latina; Estados miembros". Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  3. Latin Union Official Site
  4. "Disolución de la Secretaría General de la Unión Latina", Unión Latina, accessed 2012-06-10.

External links

  • (Catalan) (Spanish) (French) (Italian) (Portuguese) (Romanian) Official site