The overarching goal of EU-Laos cooperation - which dates back to the 1970s - is poverty reduction. It is currently based on the EU-Lao PDR Cooperation Agreement from 1997 and the EU Delegation in Vientiane was opened in 2003. The Strategy Paper for 2007-13 [227 KB] and the Multi-annual Indicative Programme ( 2007-10) imply a shift away from traditional project support to a more long term approach of budget support linked to a dialogue with the Government. A Mid Term Review of the Strategy is foreseen in 2009. ECHO is providing humanitarian assistance to the victims of the flooding in August 2008.
The main forum of dialogue is a Joint Committee (senior officials), meeting every two years, with two subsidiary working groups on Cooperation and Trade and Human Rights. The latest Working Group Meeting on Trade and Cooperation as well as the latest Joint Committee Meetingtook place on 9 March 2009 in Vientiane.
Laos is a member of ASEAN since 1997 and negotiations for WTO membership are ongoing. It benefits from tariff concessions under EU's Everything-But-Arms (EBA) scheme and participates as an observer in the ongoing FTA talks between the EU and ASEAN.