EU Relations with Iraq

The Republic of Iraq is a federal, constitutional parliamentary democracy whose modern-day borders were established in the early 20th century. The new state centred on the historic region of Mesopotamia, the 'land between the rivers' (i.e. the Tigris and the Euphrates). The region is often referred to as the cradle of human civilization.

Political relations

The EU supports Iraq's transition to democracy and its integration within the region and into the international community. In accordance with their mutual goal of enhancing relations, in May 2012 the EU and Iraq signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which provides a framework for advancing dialogue and cooperation on subjects including

  • political and social issues
  • human rights
  • the rule of law
  • migration
  • the environment
  • trade
  • culture
  • energy
  • transport
  • security

Experts from both sides meet regularly in technical working groups to discuss cooperation in these fields, while the overall direction of EU-Iraq relations is set out at the annual ministerial meetings. The most recent EU-Iraq ministerial dialogue was held in January 2014.

Bilateral trade relations

There is substantial potential for bilateral trade between Iraq and the EU, and for Iraq to become a strategic energy partner. The EU is already Iraq's second largest trading partner after the USA, with bilateral trade totalling €17.5 bn in 2012. EUexports to Iraq, consisting mainly of machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food and live animals, amounted to €4.7 bn in that year.

Imports were dominated by oil, representing 99.7% of the €12.8 bn total. Iraq's trade surplus with the EU came to €8.1 bn in 2012. The EU sees closer trade ties with the country as an important part of its reconstruction and development.


Cooperation on reconstruction and development

The EU has been closely engaged in Iraq’s recovery and reconstruction, contributing over EUR 1 bn – including humanitarian aid - since 2003. The EU's development aid has supported democracy, good governance, human rights, economic growth and poverty reduction by strengthening capacity and institutions in the areas of criminal justice, basic services, elections and civil society organisations.

For 2014-2020, the EU has earmarked €75 million for

  • strengthening human rights and the rule of law
  • improving primary and secondary education
  • providing access to sustainable energy for all.

Additionally, an EU-Iraq Energy Centre will be set up to facilitate the introduction of new technologies and advance policy reform in this strategic sector of Iraq's economy.

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