Political relations between the EU and have been shaped by the San José Dialogue, which was launched at an EU-Central America Ministerial Meeting in Costa Rica in 1984. Panama is a signatory to the 1993 EU-Central America Framework Cooperation Agreement and to the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement [105 KB] signed in 2003. The country is currently a beneficiary of the EU Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+).
Panama was invited as an observer to the EU-Central America negotiations with a view to an Association Agreement and it finally became signatory part of the agreement after having joined in 2012 SIECA the regional institution in charge of economic integration
Panama is therefore part to the EU-Central America Association Agreement signed on 29th June 2012 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The European Parliament gave its consent on 11 December 2012. The Association Agreement (not yet into force) is an ambitious and complex agreement settled upon three pillars: political dialogue, cooperation and a free trade area.
The Political Dialogue mechanisms foreseen in the agreement will allow maintaining a permanent platform to exchange views between the EU and Central America on any issue, from human rights, good governance, rule of law, democracy to protection of the environment. The Trade part establishing a free trade area between the EU and Central America will boost trade and investment flows between both regions, taking into account their developmental differences. Finally the Cooperation part takes into account the different levels of development. Since its inception, this region-to-region association has been accompanied by a wide programme of cooperation (see Regional Strategy Paper 2007-2013 and Mid-Term Review of the Regional Strategy Paper 2007-2013 for Central America ).
Due to its relatively high economic development indicators, Panama is not considered a priority country for cooperation by international donors. It has nevertheless been allocated €38 million from the EU budget for the years 2007-2013 (see the Country Strategy Paper [590 KB] ).
Mid-Term Review of the Country Strategy Paper 2007-2013 for Panama [24 KB] and the National Indicative Programme 2007-2013 [58 KB] for Panama.