The EU and Congo are linked by political, economic, cooperation and cultural ties. Their relation is based on the Cotonou Agreement.
A) Politically the EU is in regular bilateral discussions with the Congolese authorities, including through twice-yearly formal political dialogues, foreseen in the Cotonou Agreement, and various other meetings covering a wide variety of political issues - including human rights, the rule of law as well as elections and the development of democracy. The EU is also regularly exchanging with representatives of political parties as well as civil society organizations in the country. In addition, the EU and Congo are connected through partnerships between the EU and regional organizations, including the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) and the African Union. A concrete illustration is Congo's participation in the regional effort, with the support of the EU, to counter piracy and illegal marine activities in the Gulf of Guinea.
B) The EU is a major economic partner of Congo, accounting for roughly one third of its exports and imports.
C) The EU and its Member States are by far the largest donor of official development aid (ODA) to Congo. In 2013 they provided more than half of the 161m € overall ODA received by the country, with the EU institutions alone providing 29m €. The EU contributes to the development of Congo through bilateral, regional and various thematic programmes.
The most important one is the country specific National Indicative Programme under the European Development Fund (EDF), developed and implemented in close cooperation with national authorities and civil society. For the period 2014-2020 (11th EDF) if foresees 103m € to be mainly invested in two focal sectors:
In addition, Congo benefits from the EU's Regional Indicative Programme for Central Africa (350m € for 2014-2020 for the entire Central African region) as well as from a variety of thematic programmes, such as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights supporting human rights defenders and their work, as well as a programme dedicated to support of civil society organisations and local authorities. Given its position within the Congo Basin, Congo also benefits from funding for environmental and wildlife protection.
D) The EU also promotes European culture and values in Congo, including through the organization of cultural events around Europe Day , and fosters exchanges of students and researchers through the Erasmus Mundus programme as well as scientific cooperation.
Did you know? The EU has had a Delegation in Brazzaville since 1960. It serves as an official channel for fostering the entire range of bilateral relations. In doing so it works closely together with the EU Member States France, Germany and Italy currently represented in the country, as well as with the EU Member States covering Congo from embassies in neighbouring countries.