The European Union (EU) retains cordial diplomatic relations with the Maldives since 1983. The Head of Delegation of the EU in Colombo is accredited as non-resident Ambassador to the Maldives.
EU-Maldives relations are not formalized in a Cooperation Agreement or any similar agreement. Bi-annual joint missions of the Colombo based EU Head of Missions provide the main opportunity for a dialogue with national authorities and civil society actors reaffirming EU's commitment and support to consolidate democracy, promote good governance, strengthen key institutions and help the Maldives to address social, environmental and transnational challenges.
The EU played a key role in the process of the country's democratic transition. Maldives held its first free and competitive elections in 2008, which ended the 30-year presidency of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
An unexpected transfer of power in 2012 led to a political paralysis and crisis of governance. The second democratic Presidential elections in the country's history took place in 2013, followed by Parliamentary elections in 2014. The EU assessed the electoral process and regarded both elections as credible and sufficiently transparent.
Maldives is an upper middle income country that appears relatively prosperous but remains economically vulnerable; its economic base is mainly tourism and fishery. The EU is Maldives 2nd most important trading partner; Maldives ranks on position 151 for the EU.
Maldives is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change. It is a prominent voice in the Alliance of Small Island States and the G77 and has taken a lead role in international negotiations on climate change and environmental protection. The EU and Maldives have a common interest in jointly addressing climate change.
Under the Development Cooperation Instrument's Multi-Annual Indicative Programme 2007-201 3, the EU made available EUR 10.5 million through the Climate Change Trust Fund (action still ongoing) to support the Government in its objectives to fight climate change.