Relations between the EU and Guatemala, as with all Central American countries, are based on the San José Dialogue launched in 1984 with the objective of seeking solutions to armed conflicts in the region by means of dialogue and negotiation. Since then it has become a platform upon which to strengthen co-operation, economic links and regional integration. Guatemala is a signatory to the 1993 EU-Central America Framework Cooperation Agreement and to the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement signed in 2003. The country is currently a beneficiary of the EU Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+).
Guatemala is also part to the EU-Central America Association Agreement signed on 29th June 2012 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The European Parliament gave its consent on 11 December 2012. The Association Agreement (not yet into force) is an ambitious and complex agreement settled upon three pillars: political dialogue, cooperation and a free trade area.
The Political Dialogue mechanisms foreseen in the agreement will allow maintaining a permanent platform to exchange views between the EU and Central America on any issue, from human rights, good governance, rule of law, democracy to protection of the environment. The Trade part establishing a free trade area between the EU and Central America will boost trade and investment flows between both regions, taking into account their developmental differences. Finally the Cooperation part takes into account the different levels of development. Since its inception, this region-to-region association has been accompanied by a wide programme of cooperation (see Regional Strategy Paper 2007-2013 and Mid-Term Review of the Regional Strategy Paper 2007-2013 for Central America ).
Over the past years, the EU has substantially devoted development cooperation to Guatemala. The 2007-2013 EU Country Strategy [2 MB] foresees € 135 million in support of: 1) social cohesion and human security (good management of public funds, justice and security, support to youth population - in particular in favour of employment and crime prevention); 2) economic growth and trade, including food security and regional integration. In this framework, the EU also contributes to the financing of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and will further support its activities through a bilateral programme in the area of justice reform. Mid-Term Review of the Country Strategy Paper 2007-2013 for Guatemala and the National Indicative Programme 2011-2013 for Guatemala .
Finally the EU supports a number of initiatives of the civil society in several fields, particularly human rights, local development and environment.