The relations between the EU and Ethiopia are founded on the Cotonou Agreement, its Articles 8 to 13 define the bilateral political dialogue between the two parties, as well as in a set of other conventions and political commitments. The EU and Ethiopia look back on 42 years of constructive bilateral relations in areas as diverse as development cooperation, trade and economic development, consolidation of democratic institutions, regional peace and security and migration. Ethiopia is one of the EU's important partners on the African continent, active in regional peace and security as well as on thematic international debates such as climate change.
Against this background, the EU and Ethiopia decided to enhance the level of the partnership. On 14 June 2016, H.E. Prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia and H.E Jean-Claude Junker, European Commission President signed a Joint Declaration towards an EU-Ethiopia Strategic Engagement. This commits both sides to an annual Ministerial Meeting and six sectoral dialogues: Governance and Human Rights; Regional Peace and Security; Countering Terrorism and Violent Radicalisation; Migration; Social and Economic Development, Investment and Trade; and Climate Change and Environmental Cooperation.
In this engagement the two sides also affirm their commitment to the fundamental principles of sustainable development, democracy, human rights, good governance and the rule of law; regional cooperation and integration. Moreover, the two sides intend to enhance their cooperation to maintain the dynamic economic growth and the ambition of Ethiopia to join middle income countries on the basis of green and inclusive economic growth.
There are presently 21 EU Member States represented in Ethiopia, in addition to the EU and like-minded partners, such as Norway and Switzerland, constituting the EU+ group. In recent years, the EU+ group disbursed annually around € 1 billion of ODA, equivalent to roughly a quarter of total external aid to Ethiopia and can reach up to 10% of the country's annual federal budget in certain years. In this context, joint programming is not only about aid effectiveness, but most importantly, has a strong political dimension and is one of the instruments in support to the implementation of the wider EU-Ethiopia strategic engagement.
Ethiopia has been, since 2010, a pilot country for the fast-track initiative on division of labour and one of the aid effectiveness pilot countries since 2011. The EU institutions along with the 20 EU Member States then represented in Ethiopia and Norway (EU+) jointly analysed the national development plan of Ethiopia for the 2011-2015 period (the Growth and Transformation Plan) and signed in 2013 a EU+ Joint Cooperation Strategy for Ethiopia. A 3-year roadmap 2013-2015 was formulated with the aim to complete the missing elements for a full joint programme includes the identification of several pilots in the sectors of resilience, nutrition, health, migration, gender, and the environment, for which joint strategic analyses, joint mapping and joint operations were prepared. In addition, the implementation of actions from EDF funds was delegated to EU Member States to increase the division of labour. The EU, its Member States are working on working towards concluding a Joint Cooperation Strategy EU+ - Ethiopia for the period 2017 to 2020.