Relations between Iraq and the EU

Political Relations with the EU

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 pdf - 3 MB [3 MB] . The Agreement establishes first-ever contractual relations between the EU and Iraq and 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

The Agreement is under provisional application pending its ratification by all member states. Experts from both sides meet regularly in technical working groups to discuss cooperation in the fields of democracy and human rights, energy and trade-related issues. The overall direction of EU-Iraq relations is set out at the occasion of ministerial meetings. The most recent EU-Iraq ministerial dialogue was held in January 2014.

Trade Relations with the EU

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 US. Bilateral trade totalled €16.24 bn in 2014. EU exports to Iraq, consisting mainly of machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food and live animals, amounted to €4.68 bn in that year. Imports were dominated by oil, representing 99.6% of the €11.56 bn total. Turkey surpasses the EU as the most important source of imports for Iraq.

Iraq requested WTO accession in September 2004. The EU supports Iraq's accession to the WTO and believes that a WTO membership will contribute to enhancing structural reform in the country as well as Iraq's reintegration into the multilateral trading system.

The EU sees closer trade ties with the country as an important part of its reconstruction and development. In the framework of the EU-Iraq Partnership and Cooperation Agreement pdf - 3 MB [3 MB] developments in bilateral trade and investment are discussed regularly, most recently in January 2016.

Development cooperation and humanitarian assistance

The EU's development cooperation 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 2014-2017, the EU has earmarked €78 million for

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

In 2015, the EU has provided €105.65M of humanitarian assistance to Iraqi internally displaced persons as well as Syrian refugees in Iraq. The support helps those populations who have been forced to leave their homes to flee the escalating conflict, with essential food, protection, health and water, sanitation and hygiene items. EU life-saving humanitarian assistance to Iraq puts special emphasis on hard-to-reach areas, particularly vulnerable and newly displaced populations.

EU Regional Strategy for Syria and Iraq as well as the ISIL/Da´esh Threat

In response to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, and to counter the global Da'esh threat, the EU adopted the EU Regional Strategy for Syria and Iraq as well as the Da'esh threat , on 16 March 2015. It confirms the EU´s commitment to lasting peace, stability and security in Syria, Iraq and the wider region. The overall objective of this strategy is to counter the threat posed by Da'esh and other terrorist groups to regional and international stability, while simultaneously alleviating the human suffering caused by the ongoing violence and displacement. It draws together the different strands of current and future EU action covering diplomatic and political measures, humanitarian assistance as well as stabilisation, counter-terrorism and peace-building interventions.

For Iraq the strategy foresees a mix of humanitarian and resilience aid, support for the stabilisation of areas liberated from Da'esh, support for rule of law, good governance and improved economic performance, as well as non-military support to the various lines of effort of the Global Coalition to counter Da'esh. It comes with an aid package of € 1 billion for Syria and Iraq, which has in the meantime grown to € 1.7 billion, for the years 2015 and 2016, out of which more than € 200 million are dedicated to Iraq. The implementation of the strategy is in full swing in coordination with the EU Member States and other partners.

 

Links:

Strengthening Iraq through EU cooperation pdf - 2 MB [2 MB]

Trade statistics pdf - 140 KB [140 KB]

Council Conclusions Iraq 2015 pdf - 34 KB [34 KB]

EU Regional Strategy pdf - 592 KB [592 KB]

ECHO Crisis Flash pdf - 306 KB [306 KB]

 


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