Delegation of the European Union to El Salvador and to the Central American Integration System (SICA)

El Salvador and the EU

11/05/2016 - 16:42
EU relations with Country

Relations between El Salvador and the European Union (EU) are developed under the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement and the Association Agreement, which strengthen political dialogue, cooperation and trade between the EU and Central America.

In recent decades the European Union has been one of the strategic partners of El Salvador.

Relations between El Salvador and the EU are based on two instruments:

  1. The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the European Union and Central America, which entered into force in 2014. This agreement has helped to strengthen political dialogue and to expand the exchange of information and cooperation on issues such as regional integration, the reduction of poverty, social cohesion, sustainable development and conflict prevention and resolutions, among others,
  2. The Association Agreement with Central America, whose trade pillar is currently only provisionally applied (explanatory document), is based on three pillars. These are: political dialogue, cooperation and trade, which mutually contribute to the promotion of economic growth, democracy and political stability in Central America.

The political pillar will help strengthening political and diplomatic relations, by establishing mechanisms that will enable the flow of information and the adoption of joint positions concerning issues of global importance.

The EU has also played an active role in the electoral observation missions in El Salvador, by participating with Electoral Expert Missions in the 2009 and 2012 elections, and full-fledged Election Observation Missions in 2018 and 2019.

El Salvador and the EU have consolidated their economic relations through the establishment of the Association Agreement between the EU and Central America (explanatory document), which represents an opportunity for El Salvador’s development.

Its implementation means a series of specific benefits for Central America, including:

  • the consolidation of the regional integration process, through the establishment of conditions for the free circulation of goods within Central America;
  • free access to the EU markets for Central American exports;
  • a greater exchange of services between both parties;
  • the attraction of direct foreign investment from the EU;
  • incentives for the integration of national and regional productive value chains;
  • productive diversification and increased competitiveness; and
  • the establishment of a legal framework to provide continuity to the cooperation offered by the European Union.

The trade pillar of the Association Agreement between the EU and Central America (explanatory document) entered into force in 2013, expanding and improving trade relations between the EU and El Salvador through a reciprocal trade liberalisation process. This has represented a positive step in the process of providing legal clarity and consolidating access to the European market for El Salvador products.

This agreement promotes the following objectives:

  • trade expansion through the reduction of tariff barriers and the provision of trading standards and technical regulations;
  • the promotion of regional economic integration;
  • the effective, reciprocal and gradual opening of public procurement markets;
  • the adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights;
  • the establishment of an effective, fair and predictable dispute settlement mechanism; and
  • the promotion of trade that will help towards the objective of sustainable development through joint collaborative work.

The adoption of these measures generated trade worth 739 million euros in 2015, and enabled El Salvador exports to the EU to increase by 5.5 % between 2014 and 2015. Below are some of the figures:

  • trade between the EU and El Salvador rose by 3.5 % between 2014 and 2015,
  • in 2015, El Salvador exported goods and services to the EU worth 195 million euros,
  • 66 % of exports from El Salvador to the EU are food and livestock, transportation machinery and equipment (17.1 % of the total) and manufactured products (7.9 % of the total), among others,

for its part, El Salvador mainly imports transportation machinery and equipment from the EU (45.9 % of the total) and manufactured products (19.6 % of the total).

The EU is one of El Salvador’s main official development aid donors and has adopted a Multi-Annual Indicative Programme (MIP) for the period 2014-2020, which outlines its cooperation with El Salvador funded by the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI).

The strategic objectives of the EU's bilateral coopeation with El Salvador are as follows:

  1. to help consolidate the process of democracy and sustainable development in the country, with a special focus on social inclusion (poverty reduction, combatting inequality and exclusion and the prevention of violence), good governance and human rights, environmental protection and adaption to climate change;
  2. to consolidate progress made in democratisation and development, and to ensure that essential reforms remain a priority on the national political agenda; and
  3. to support the integration of El Salvador into the global economy, by strengthening bilateral trade relations and helping in the transition towards a green economy through a better regional integration process, and by improving investment and the business climate.

As outlined in its Multi-Annual Indicative Programme, the EU's development cooperation will particularly focus on two focal sectors, namely youth and social inclusion; and private sector development.

Civil society is a key actor for the European Union, and the EU maintains a close dialogue with representatives of civil society in El Salvador.

To make this dialogue more effective and improve the impact, predictability and visibility of EU actions, the Delegation of the European Union, in collaboration with the Member States' embassies in San Salvador and civil society organisations (CSOs) have sketched a Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society for the period 2014-2020. (Document: PDF icon final_hdr_2018-2020.pdf)


The European Union – El Salvador Medal is an annual initiative created by the EU Delegation in El Salvador to recognise the work of people or institutions that contribute to the strengthening of bilateral relations (political, economic, trade and cooperation relations), and to the promotion of values shared by the European Union and El Salvador.

The European – El Salvador Medal was awarded for the first time in May 2016. The first Salvadoran citizen who received this recognition is businesswoman, Mrs. Elena María de Alfaro, who has been deeply committed to promoting social corporate responsibility and the empowerment of women.

Read the recognition profile.


The EU wishes to preserve Europe's common cultural heritage and helps making it more accessible to others, as well as supports and promotes the European arts and creative industries.

With this objective in mind, the Delegation of the EU and the embassies of Germany, Spain, France, and Italy celebrate Europe Day (9 May) in El Salvador with a cultural, academic and sporting agenda in order to highlight this exciting story of economic and political integration between different countries and peoples.

Under the motto 'United in Diversity', 'Europe Month' is organised in El Salvador every year, the purpose of which is to be a small testimonial to the cultural wealth of a continent that has created the largest space for peace, security, liberty and justice in the world.

The events of 'Europe Month' include a wide range of activities, most of them free of charge, including the European Film Festival, numerous concerts, gastronomic events, photography exhibitions, radio and television programmes, public conferences, family activities and sporting competitions.

'Europe Month' was conceived through the joint hard work of European embassies in El Salvador, their respective cultural forums, European schools, and countless Salvadoran institutions (public and private) that provide unconditional support for the staging of all the events.

The full agenda of 'Europe Month' is available every April on the websites and social media of the Delegation of the European Union and of the country's European embassies.