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 [12 KB] 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 second trade partner (15% of Uruguay’s exports in 2011) and the first market for Uruguay beef (29% of beef exports).
The Country Strategy Paper [404 KB] for 2007-2013 identifies two key priorities in Uruguay's development strategy: social and territorial cohesion, and innovation. The Mid-Term Review [76 KB] of this paper in 2010 confirmed these priorities.
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 [431 KB] . 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.