EU Relations with Uruguay

Since the conclusion of the 1992 Framework Co-operation Agreement between the EU and Uruguay, bilateral relations have intensified, not only in economic terms (the EU is the biggest source of investment), but also politically. The Agreement foresees cooperation in areas such as health, social, administrative and food matters, rural development, environment, investment promotion and technology transfer. The Agreement establishes regular EU-Uruguay Joint Cooperation Committee meetings. The VIII EU-Uruguay Joint Cooperation Committee took place in Brussels on 20 March 2012.

Trade relations between the EU and Uruguay are important, with Uruguay consistently posting a surplus, mainly due to agricultural exports. The EU is Uruguay's third trade partner (15.1% of Uruguay’s exports) with a total trade volume worth €2.979 Billion in 2013

The Country Strategy Paper for 2007-2013 identified three key priorities in Uruguay's development strategy:

  • social and regional cohesion
  • innovation, research and economic development
  • Reform of the penal and penitentiary system

The Mid-Term Review of this paper in 2010 confirmed these priorities.

In line with the Agenda for Change, the EU has refocused its aid towards sectors and countries that are in the greatest need of external support to ensure maximum impact on poverty reduction. As a result, Uruguay is no longer eligible under the EU’s main instrument for bilateral development assistance for the next financial exercise 2014-2020. But Uruguay remains eligible to participate in the EU’s regional and thematic programmes.

The EU also provides support to Uruguay in other fields such as human rights and engaging with non-state actors. These projects are funded by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) with the aim of contributing to the development and consolidation of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide.

Regarding regional integration, the EU and Mercosur signed a Framework Co-operation Agreement in 1995 whose main objective is the preparation of an inter-regional association agreement. EU-Mercosur negotiations were re-launched in May 2010 at the EU-LAC Summit of Madrid and are ongoing. As a founding member of Mercosur, Uruguay is also a recipient country in line with the priorities described in the Mercosur Regional Strategy Paper 2007–2013 .

At regional level, relations are ongoing within the framework of CELAC, which now represents the whole of the Central and Latin American and Caribbean region in dialogues with third countries and regional groups. Hence the EU and Uruguay also have discussions under the auspices of the bi-regional EU-CELAC biennial summits and regular Senior Officials’ Meetings.