EU relations and cooperation with Venezuela are carried out on a regional and bilateral basis. However, unlike other Mercosur countries, bilateral relations between the EU and Venezuela are not governed by any bilateral legal framework. EU relations with Venezuela were initially going to be governed by the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the Andean Community signed in 2003, but this is no longer the case since the withdrawal of Venezuela from the Andean Community in 2006.
In 2012 Venezuela became a full member of Mercosur and has thus joined the dialogue and negotiations of an Association Agreement between the EU and Mercosur.
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 Venezuela also have discussions under the auspices of the bi-regional EU-CELAC biennial summits and regular Senior Officials’ Meetings.
Trade between the EU and Venezuela remains one of the key subjects of relations. The EU is Venezuela's 4th main trading partner with a total trade of €7,994 billion for 2013.
The 2007-2013 Country Strategy Paper outlined the main axes of financial bilateral cooperation with Venezuela. The priorities for support were:
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, Venezuela is no longer eligible under the EU’s main instrument for bilateral development assistance for the next financial exercise 2014-2020. But Venezuela remains eligible to participate in the EU’s regional and thematic programmes.
The EU also provides support to Venezuela 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. In 2013 the EU allocated €900,000 through the EIDHR to finance projects in Venezuela.