Mauritania is an ACP country. Relations between the EU and Mauritania are principally founded on the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (the Cotonou Agreement) and on the National Indicative Plan for the 2014-2020 period, signed in Nairobi on 19 June 2014. As well as being a member of the Arab Maghreb Union, the Union for the Mediterranean and the 5+5 Dialogue, Mauritania also participates in the EUROMED partnership and, as a result, benefits from specific regional funding under this framework.
Since 1999, Mauritania has benefited from observer status within ECOWAS. It is for this reason that ECOWAS was mandated to negotiate the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) for West Africa on Mauritania’s behalf, signed in July 2014.
Although Mauritania is involved in a process of democratic consolidation, the country has suffered a series of military coups, with the last one dating back to August 2008. Following the elections in 2006-2007 and 2009, the EU offered the country political and financial support to help its transition towards democracy. Furthermore, the EU supported the holding of legislative (November – December 2013) and presidential (21 June 2014) elections by sending electoral expert missions and technical assistance.
Mauritania is a significant partner in the EU's Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel .
The EU and Mauritania maintain regular political dialogue which enables a broad range of subjects to be dealt with, including regional, political, economic and trade issues, dealing with development, governance and also including human rights.
Under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) for the 2007-2013 period, the amount reserved for EU-Mauritania cooperation totalled EUR 209.3 million.
However, implementation of the cooperation was delayed following the coup in 2008, which led to the freezing of funding until the beginning of 2010. Despite this delay, it has been possible to invest the funds and the majority of the projects financed by the 10th EDF have been able to begin, while a few others are just about to begin. From the initial earmarked amount, EUR 156 million for governance, infrastructure, regional integration and combating poverty under the European Development Fund (local development, national migration strategy, modernising public administration and the judicial system, civil society, road repairs and construction, budgetary aid, etc.) has been added to other funds under the framework of the EU's Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel for emergency aid and the "Millennium Development Goals" (MDG) initiative.
Under the framework of the budgetary support programme currently underway (EUR 46 million – State Building Contract), a system to reform public finances has been put in place, which has resulted in a significant improvement in budgetary transparency.
The National Indicative Plan 2014-2020 amounting to an initial total of EUR 195 million was signed in Nairobi on 19 June 2014. The priority sectors form part of the continuity of the National Indicative Plan of the 10th EDF, with however, the introduction of the health sector as the main new addition.
In addition to the National Indicative Plan, Mauritania also receives funding from regional instruments (National Indicative Plan for West Africa, intra-ACP programmes) and different horizontal (Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace) and thematic instruments (such as, for example, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights).
Mauritania is a significant partner of the EU in the field of fisheries. On 26 July 2012, the European Commission and Mauritania signed a 2-year Protocol to the EU-Mauritania Fisheries Partnership Agreement, which succeeded a similar agreement. This Protocol comes to an end on 15 December 2014 and negotiations for its renewal have been underway since May 2014.