The EU's institutional relations with El Salvador and other countries of Central America – Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama - were originally based on the San José Dialogue. Launched in 1984, this sought to resolve armed conflicts in the region through dialogue and negotiation; it now provides a basis for strengthening cooperation, economic links and regional integration. Central America-EU relations are governed by the 2003 Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement .
The ambitious, wide-ranging EU-Central America Association Agreement, signed in June 2012 in Tegucigalpa (Honduras) is based on political dialogue, cooperation and a free trade area. Only the section relating to trade is currently in force, and this will remain the case until the EU Member States.
The agreement's political dialogue mechanism enables the 2 sides to share views on issues including
The trade section, which establishes an EU-Central America free trade area, will boost trade and investment flows between the 2 regions. It takes account of their disparity in terms of economic development, as does the wide-ranging cooperation section: see the 2007-2013 Regional Strategy Paper and the Mid-Term Review of the 2007-2013 Regional Strategy Paper for Central America .
The EU has traditionally been one of El Salvador's main official development aid donors. The cooperation programme's top priorities for 2007-13 (total budget: €121 million) were:
For details, see:
The EU and the relevant sectors of Salvadoran society are engaged in a wide-ranging policy dialogue on all these areas. A new cooperation programme for 2014-2020 was approved in August 2014.
The EU also funds a wide variety of initiatives by NGOs and other groups in areas including human rights, local development and the environment.