EU Relations with Afghanistan

The EU has a long-term commitment to Afghanistan and the Afghan people. In June 2014, the Foreign Affairs Council agreed a new strategy for Afghanistan till the end of 2016. The EU and Member States have agreed that their overarching strategic goal will be the development of Afghanistan's institutions to provide the resilience needed to safeguard progress to date and provide the platform for a more effective and ultimately sustainable Afghan state. In particular, there will be a focus on:

  • Promoting peace, security and regional stability;
  • Reinforcing democracy;
  • Encouraging economic and human development;
  • Fostering the rule of law and respect for human rights, in particular the rights of women.

On 17 December 2015, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Council decision on the signing of the Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development between the European Union and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The Cooperation Agreement will be the first official, contractual framework between the EU and Afghanistan. It enshrines the EU's ten-year commitment to a partnership with Afghanistan to further develop the mutually beneficial relationship in an increasing range of economic and political areas. It encompasses cooperation in areas such as rule of law, migration, health, rural development, education, science and technology, as well as action to combat corruption, money laundering, terrorist financing, organised crime and narcotics. Emphasis will be placed on holding regular political dialogue, including on human rights issues, in particular the rights of women and children, which are defined as essential elements of this agreement. EU Member States will now discuss the precise form and substance of the draft agreement which was initialled in Kabul in July 2015.

Afghanistan receives more development aid from the EU and Member States than any other country. The EU recently signed an agreement with the new Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to provide up to €1.4 billion in development assistance over the next seven years – the largest EU programme in any country. The EU works with the Government and international partners to promote effective and coordinated spending of development assistance. The EU spends most of its funds supporting improvements in health, agriculture, policing and the democratic oversight of government. Since 2007, the EU has also had a police mission, currently 290 people, in the country to provide specialised training and improve links with other parts of the justice system.