EU Relations with the Central African Republic

The Central African Republic is a fragile state in a prolonged crisis, exacerbated over the past two years. It is now in a political transitional phase, politically guaranteed by regional partners, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN), with strong support from the European Union (EU) and other international partners. Relations between the EU and the Central African Republic are based on a regular political dialogue under the Cotonou Agreement. The EU is a key partner of the Central African Republic (CAR) and is the country's main donor.

CAR is one of the 10 States of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and one of the six members of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). The EU Delegation in Bangui remains in charge of regional matters related to the CEMAC.

Trade relations between CAR and the EU are governed by the Generalised System of Preferences. As a Least-Developed Country, CAR benefits from duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market under the "Everything but Arms" scheme. CAR is also negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU as a member of the Central African configuration.

EU priorities

The CAR faces a daunting mix of governance, economic, social, and humanitarian as well as of security challenges. Thus, the EU is committed in many critical areas to support long-term socio-economic recovery, in the framework a comprehensive state- and peacebuilding agenda, and to help build a more stable country.

EU aid

The EU is the country's main donor. Since 2013, the EU has contributed a total amount of €83.5 million for humanitarian activities (€39 million in 2013, €22.5 million in 2014 and €22 million in 2015).

A package of €119 million was adopted in 2014 for development and cooperation programmes and another €22.65 million through the Instrument Contributing to Peace and Stability.

The 'Bêkou Trust Fund' Trust Fund' ('Bêkou means hope in the Sango language) for CAR was created by the EU, France, Germany and the Netherlands to support the country to face the crisis while preparing the ground for a medium-long term development and activities have been implemented since September 2014.

Funding (€125 million) for MISCA (the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic) was mobilised under the African Peace Facility to reinforce its operational capacity before its transformation into a UN Peacekeeping Operation (MINUSCA).

Managing national resources

Forestry governance – a FLEGT voluntary partnership agreement with the EU entered into force on 1 July 2012, and CAR authorities are currently finalising a scheme for legally-certified timber exports to Europe.

Extractive industries – CAR joined the Kimberley Process (KP) from its beginnings in 2003.

In May 2013, due to the coup d’état and the worsening security situation, the KP decided to temporarily suspend introducing diamonds from CAR into the legitimate trade. The KP Plenary in China, in November 2014, took note of the progress made by CAR on implementation of its Work Plan and roadmap, for addressing issues of non-compliance with minimum standards and strengthening the internal control system.

CAR was declared compliant with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in 2011. However, in April 2013, the EITI Board decided to temporarily suspend the CAR’s status as EITI Compliant, due to the political instability.