Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Madagascar and the Union of the Comoros

Madagascar and the EU

12/05/2016 - 14:21
EU relations with Country

Relations between Madagascar and the European Union (EU) take place within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement, which establishes a full partnership based on political cooperation, economic and trade cooperation, and development cooperation.

The return to constitutional rule in May 2014 allowed the full re-establishment of relations between the EU and Madagascan state institutions, ending the period of political transition.

The first political dialogue between the European Union and Madagascar since the crisis ended took place in February 2015. The discussion focused on:

  • the political, economic and social situation in Madagascar and in Europe;
  • the consolidation of the rule of law and human rights;
  • organised crime;
  • creating a favourable context for growth, including investment security;
  • development co-operation, including the preparation of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF);
  • Madagascar's return to the regional and international stage, energy, infrastructures and environment, including the fight against trafficking of natural resources.

At the end of the meeting, three priority areas for work were identified:

  • implementing Madagascar's National Development Plan and the programming of the 11th EDF, which will establish the major axes for future cooperation;
  • creating the conditions for economic growth and inclusive sustainable development in the country, including investment security and legal security;
  • Strengthening good public governance, human rights and the rule of law, areas which have a major effect on other sectors;

The Cotonou Agreement also provides for the participation of civil society in political dialogue.

In the economic domain, the EU maintains a close relationship with Madagascar through cooperation instruments, regular dialogue and specific agreements. This relationship takes place within the framework of three agreements:

  • The Cotonou Agreement, signed in 2000, which ultimately aims to eradicate poverty and contribute to sustainable development and the progressive integration of signatory countries into the world economy.
  • The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), signed in 2009, which pertains to the essential values of the Cotonou Agreement. This instrument is adapted to the challenges of globalisation and the modernisation needs of the Malagasy economy, especially in terms of regional integration and diversification of markets. The EPA will allow Madagascar to increase trade and economic activity within its regional surroundings. Regional cooperation and integration must create larger and more attractive markets for investors. In this sense, the EPA contributes to the fight against poverty.
  • The 1986 fisheries agreement to which agreement protocols are connected.

Over the 2004-2010 period, the EU remained Madagascar's main commercial partner, with annual averages of 24 % of imports, ahead of China (13 %), and 53 % of exports, ahead of the United States of America (24 %).

Madagascar's trade balance with the EU was positive overall from 2004 to 2010, except in 2007, when it had a deficit of €3 million.

Madagascar belongs to several regional groups: the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

However, trade relations with countries in the region remain limited. Madagascar's market share within SADC fell from 2.4 % to 1.7 % between 2001 and 2006, with South Africa and Mauritius representing 80 % of exchanges in this zone. Madagascar's market share within COMESA is 2 %. In 2010 and 2011, average exports to SADC and COMESA were 5 % and 4 % respectively, whilst average imports were 12 % for SADC and 8 % for COMESA.

The EU encourages the three-part COMESA, SADC and East African Community process, which was launched in October 2008 in Kampala with the objective of setting up a free-trade zone between 26 countries in 2012.

Negotiating the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in the context of the Eastern and Southern Africa configuration, in the absence of a full EPA covering the six negotiation themes, Madagascar signed an interim EPA in August 2009. This covered market access, fisheries and development cooperation. It also contained chapters on rules of origin, trade defence and dispute resolution mechanisms.

The European Union is one of the leading donors of public development aid to Madagascar. Its main financial instrument is the European Development Fund (EDF). The EDF is implemented within the framework of a joint programming document, the National Indicative Programme (NIP).

The NIP connected with the 11th EDF covers the 2014-2020 period, for an indicative sum of €518 million. Its main objective is to combat poverty by strengthening good governance and promoting a sustainable economy to benefit the population. Thus, there is a focus on three complementary sectors:

  • governance and strengthening public policies
  • infrastructures to support economic development
  • rural development.

In the development domain, the EU is also present in Madagascar via financial interventions from the European investment bank (EIB) and bilateral aid from its Member States. This assistance is accompanied by EU funding for vertical programmes benefiting Madagascar, such as the Global Education Fund and the GAVI Vaccine Alliance.

In accordance with the Cotonou Agreement, the NIP reserves an indicative allocation of €8 million for the support and engagement of civil society organisations.

European humanitarian policy is implemented by the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO). Since 2008, DG ECHO has also supported initiatives to reduce disaster risks and to improve the resilience of populations. The aim is to better prepare communities and institutions in exposed areas to:

  • prevent and respond to disasters;
  • improve early warning systems and local reaction capacities;
  • design adaptive mechanisms to alleviate the impact of disasters.

DG ECHO, in cooperation with its partners, provides regular monitoring of the humanitarian situation in Madagascar. In the event of an emergency and based on an evaluation of needs, it can decide to fund humanitarian operations to respond to immediate needs in terms of food, access to water and sanitation, or basic healthcare, or to help the population regain its means of subsistence. DG ECHO supports the introduction of adapted agricultural techniques, enhanced seeds and new varieties, with the aim of improving food and nutritional security in the region's zones worst affected by food insecurity.

Thus, in 2015-2016, €5.9 million was spent on response efforts for the food insecurity generated by El Niño in Madagascar.

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