The EU and the Pacific have a longstanding relationship based on the legacy of a shared history, common values, economic and trade cooperation.
Over the last 50 years the relationship was based on development cooperation within the framework of the EU-ACP Partnership established with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, enshrined in the 1975 Lomé Convention and updated in 2000 by the Cotonou Agreement. The EU is appreciated by the Pacific countries as a constructive and predictable donor, as apart from the conditions set out in the Cotonou Agreement, there are no political conditions or strings attached to EU support.
Lately, the cooperation between the EU and the Pacific has been intensified in various other sectors, like environment, good governance, energy, climate change, fisheries and human rights.
In 2006 a STRATEGY FOR A STRENGTHENED PARTNERSHIP was adopted to develop EU RELATIONS WITH THE PACIFIC ISLANDS from a mere donor-recipient level to a more political relationship. In 2012 this approach was complemented by the communication 'Towards a renewed EU-Pacific development Partnership (link to doc and link to Council conclusions). They reflect the growing environmental, political and economic importance of the Pacific region with a focus on governance, regionalism and sustainable management of natural resources.
The increasing relevance the EU attaches to its relations with the Pacific is mirrored in the participation of President Barroso at the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) in 2011 and of HR/VP Ashton in 2014. The PIF is the inter-governmental regional organisation including 14 independent island states and Australia and New Zealand.
At the PIF 2014 in Palau HR/VP Ashton and the leaders of the Pacific island states discussed possible further steps in the relationship with a view to establish a partnership among equals, tackling issues of common concern together, including in the fields of security and foreign affairs.