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Relations between the European Union and Liberia are based on the EU's partnership agreement with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries - the Cotonou Agreement.
In line the Cotonou Agreement, the Government of the Republic of Liberia and the European Union formally launched a regular political dialogue in June 2012. The Third EU-Liberia Political Dialogue was held on April 28, 2015 with a focus on Governance, Security and Justice.
Smaller sectoral or thematic meetings are also held to discuss a wide range of issues including political developments, human rights, regional integration and multilateral cooperation.
EU development aid to Liberia is mainly provided through the European Development Fund (EDF). In 2008-13, the country received €223.8m to rehabilitate its basic infrastructure/social services and to improve governance. The aid was used in line with the approach set out in the EU strategy paper for Liberia. For 2014-2020, the National Indicative Programm (NIP), which has been developed and agreed with the Liberia Government, allocates €279m of EU funding to support good governance, energy, education and agriculture. The EU has also been assisting in the country's recovery from the Ebola crisis.
In addition, Liberia benefits from regional funds earmarked for West Africa and from a number of thematic programmes. The European Investment Bank also provides support, primarily for infrastructure projects.
As one of the world’s least developed countries, Liberia benefits from full duty and quota-free access to the EU market for all exports except arms/armaments under the EU's preferential access scheme, Everything But Arms. The EU is Liberia's biggest export market.
Liberia is covered by the regional Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and West Africa (ECOWAS). Once it comes in to force, the comprehensive agreement will guarantee Liberia access to the EU market and help to promote regional trade.
In 2013, Liberia's Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU – under the FLEGT forestry protection initiative – came into force. The agreement aims to improve forest governance and ensure timber exports to Europe are legal and from a certified country of origin.
Similarly, in 2015, a Fisheries agreement was signed to regulate fishing activities and establish economic, financial, technical and scientific cooperation in the sector.