Delegation of the European Union to Cabo Verde

Cabo Verde and the EU

11/05/2016 - 15:34
EU relations with Country

Cabo Verde and the EU have enjoyed a close and very constructive relationship for more than 35 years, based first of all on significant and continuing development cooperation. Today, Cabo Verde and the EU also share a strong commitment to the common values of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and promote and defend these in many international fora. The very successful evolution of the relationship in these various areas led to the creation of the EU-Cabo Verde Special Partnership in 2007.

Cabo Verde and the EU have enjoyed a close and very constructive relationship for more than 35 years, based first of all on significant and continuing development cooperation. Today, Cabo Verde and the EU also share a strong commitment to the common values of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and promote and defend these in many international fora.Following the Cotonou Agreement of 2000, Cabo Verde and the European Union decided to reinforce their relations in a unique way through two new instruments: The EU-Cabo Verde Special Partnership, and the EU-Cabo Verde Partnership for Mobility.

The EU/Cabo Verde Special Partnership was created in 2007 with the aim of giving expression to and further developing the particularly close and successful evolution of the relationship in various areas ranging from many different aspects of development cooperation to a regular political dialogue at high and highest level, with the overarching aim of promoting common interests and values. As priority areas of action, the following six pillars were created:       

  • Good governance
  • Security/stability
  • Regional integration
  • Technical and Regulatory Convergence
  • Knowledge-based Society
  • The fight against poverty, and development.

In the framework of this partnership, an Action Plan for Security and Stability was launched in 2014, and adopted at the Ministerial Meeting in Luxembourg in 2015.

The Mobility Partnership (PpM, 2008), for which Cabo Verde was selected as a pilot state, is a political framework for increased dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Cabo Verde in the area of migration. This partnership includes concrete initiatives from both parties, including two agreements in force on facilitating issuing of visas and readmission of persons. In the Schengen area, Portugal manages the Common Visa Centre (CCV, one of various projects funded under the PpM) dealing with short-term visa requests on behalf of 15 EU Member States.

In 2017, we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Special Partnership with a series of political, cultural and cooperation events in May. This will include a high-level EU visit to Cabo Verde, a concert and other cultural activities, and high-level conference which will provide an assessment of the achievements of the first 10 years of the Special Partnership, and discuss ideas for its future deepening and enhancement.

The EU is the main trading partner of Cabo Verde, accounting for more than 70% of imports to Cabo Verde and receiving 85% of the country's exports.

As part of new trade partnerships since the Cotonu Agreement of 2000, ACP countries (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) and the EU have been negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) to build a trade partnership for development. The aim of the EPAs is to help ACP countries to integrate into the world economy and benefit from the opportunities offered by globalisation.

Producers and farmers in Cabo Verde can benefit from an EPA in the following ways:

- Absence of quotas and fees for exports to the European market;

- Access to a large free market, also including EFTA countries (Switzerland, Norway etc.);

- Integration in regional markets (with ECOWAS countries - Economic Community of West African States);

- Promotion of broader reforms that contribute to sustainable economic growth and an improvement in the business environment.

The current European External Investment Plan (EEIP) will also help the country to attain these objectives. The Investment Plan is intended to provide incentives for the private sector and to support Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, in order to boost employment generation and economic growth.

The European Development Fund (EDF) is the main source of technical and financial cooperation between the EU and Cabo Verde. The EDF consists of contributions from EU member states towards financing cooperation projects and activities in ACP countries (Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific) identified during the design phase of the relevant National Indicative Programmes (NIP) and Regional Indicative Programmes (RIP).

During the 10th EDF implementation, from 2008 to 2013, approximately 86% of the funds were channelled through budget support to sustainably promote poverty reduction and economic growth, and to promote the Special Partnership between Cabo Verde and the EU.



The European Union started applying Budget Support in Cabo Verde in 1998, with programmes to establish conditions for improving public finance management, and to strengthen food security in a subsequent phase.

Budget Support as part of the 10th EDF ended in 2016. An overall total of 70.3 million euros was provided.

The new EU-Cabo Verde Budget Support programme was signed at the end of 2016, providing a total of 50 million euros, in the framework of the 11th European Development Fund, for the period 2016-2020.

In addition to this package, financial envelopes of 5 million euros were provided for institutional support and technical assistance, in order to strengthen the technical and operational capacities of public institutions in priority sectors.

A package of 7 million euros was approved in 2016 as extraordinary budget support for rehabilitation of the island of Santo Antão after the torrential rains of September 2016. Similar funds were provided in 2014 after the volcanic eruption on the island of Fogo, and in 2015 as part of the Pro-Resilience Action 2015 programme to support the fight against the effects of drought by strengthening food security and sustainable rural development.



The first fisheries agreement was concluded between the EEC and Cabo Verde in 1990.

The current Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Cabo Verde came into force on 20th March 2007, and has been continued since through tacit renewal.

This fisheries agreement is part of the network of tuna fisheries agreements in West Africa, and it allows a limited number of EU ships - from Spain, Portugal and France in particular - to fish in the waters of Cabo Verde.

Following the expiry of the protocol, on 31st August 2014, a new protocol of to the agreement was signed, which has been in force since 23rd December 2014.

Under the new protocol, which covers a period of four years, 71 EU vessels can fish for tuna and similar species in Cabo‑Verdean waters. In return, the EU will pay Cabo Verde a financial contribution of 550,000 euros per year for the first two years that the protocol is applied and 500,000 euros per year for the last two years. Half of this annual contribution is reserved for promoting sustainable fisheries management in Cabo Verde, including capacity building for control and supervision, and for helping local fishing communities to improve governance of fishing with a view to sustainable exploration, supply and development in the sector.

This type of agreement is one of the new agreements that also aim at preserving resources and environmental sustainability, and guarantee identical control and transparency standards for all EU vessels.

This sectoral support aims in particular to:

  • improve the scientific knowledge underlying fishing rights conceded under the agreements and provide more information on the global fishing effort carried out in the waters of partner countries;
  • strengthen the good governance aspect of the agreements and include a clause protecting human rights, as well as gradually increasing the contribution from EU shipowners to the costs of access;
  • promote sustainable fishing in the waters of partner countries, better defining the objectives of the concession of sectoral support from the EU and ensuring regular supervision.



The European Union provided 6 grants in 2015 following the call for proposals for “Preservation and improvement of social, cultural and environmental heritage as a factor in the diversification and development of sustainable and solidarity tourism in Cabo Verde", in the framework of the “Non-state actors and local authorities” thematic programme, aimed at civil society organisations and local authorities.

In 2017, it is foreseen to finance more projects, following the call launched in 2016 focusing on developing sustainable tourism to boost job creation.




1) The Memorandum of Understanding between the EU and Cabo Verde for enhanced cooperation on renewable energy was signed in September 2014 in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and the Climate Change Summit. The Memorandum was co-signed by the following EU Member States: Austria, Luxembourg, Spain, and Portugal.

2) The Energy sector was identified as the next sector to benefit from the EU/CV cooperation on technical and regulatory convergence through the Institutional Support instrument under the new Budget Support Program (11th EDF).

3) Regional Program: Cabo Verde is expected to benefit from two concrete programs on energy governance under the 11th EDF.

4) EU Technical Assistance Missions (EU / TAF SE4ALL): Since the beginning of 2014 Cabo Verde has already received several TAF EU SE4ALL missions, which will continue and which currently have the following objectives:

i. To develop a Hydro-pumping Energy Storage Project in Cabo Verde;

ii. To elaborate the Energy Master Plan of Cabo Verde.

These missions aim at supporting the country in achieving the recommended results of its national strategic document for Renewable Energy.


The strong links that have always existed between Cabo Verde and the EU have been strengthened by economic and cooperation relations at various levels.

Madeira, Azores, Canaries (MAC) cooperation programme 2014-2020

Cooperation between Cabo Verde and the outermost regions of Macaronesia has been promoted through the European territorial cooperation programme, particularly through the different phases of the “MAC” programme. In this context a platform for regional coordination and dialogue was recently created to facilitate implementation of projects for cooperation between the three outermost regions and the countries of West Africa, including Cabo Verde, which forms part of the programme area.

As a vital part of the Regional Integration Pillar of the Special Partnership between the EU and Cabo Verde, the EU plans to work with the outermost regions for the integration of Macaronesia, with the aim of improving its structure and making it more dynamic, in line with the broad neighbourhood policy. In this context the EU delegation in Cabo Verde has taken a very pro-active and significant role in dialogue between the various partners.

During the period of 2007-2013 of the 10th MAC ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), Cabo Verde participated in 62 of the 86 projects funded by the programme, which included applied scientific research (climate change, and particularly the sea), civil protection and disasters, tourism, culture, development of business fabric and health.

The current MAC ERDF programme 2014-2020 includes a significant envelope of 112 million euros; a total of 52.3 million euros will be allocated from these funds to 56 projects selected in the first call for proposals (out of a total of 215 submitted). Cabo Verde participates in 42 projects, as part of the most significant partnership with third countries in the MAC region.



Two projects were started in 2014 in the framework of cooperation between the EU and PALOP-TL (Portuguese-speaking African countries and Timor Leste) and managed in Cabo Verde, including the “Project for support and improvement of quality and proximity of public services in PALOP-TL”.

Cabo Verde participates in the programmes Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020.

Erasmus +:

The Horizon 2020 framework programme, which was launched by the European Commission in 2014, is completely open for the participation of all countries, including African countries. This opening provides research and innovation actors in Africa with a better opportunity to benefit and develop local capacity with European partners in the public and private sectors.


Editorial Sections: