Delegation of the European Union to Namibia

Mongolia and the EU

12/05/2016 - 14:59
EU relations with Country

This page gives an outline of the political, economic and trade relations between the European Union and Mongolia. Information about scientific cooperation is also provided.

EU relations with Mongolia have been developing positively and comprehensively since 1989. The EU regards Mongolia as an important partner and is involved in national and regional cooperation activities on the ground. The EU actively supported Mongolia in hosting the ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar in July 2016.

In the framework of the ASEM Summit the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU High representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini visited Mongolia and met with President Elbegdorj and Prime Minister Erdenebat.

In June 2015, President Elbegdorj visited the European Parliament in Strasbourg and delivered a speech at the Plenary Assembly on Mongolia's transition to democracy and its role as an EU partner in the region. On that occasion President Elbegdorj also held talks with the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

In April 2013, a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement was signed during the visit of EU High Representative/Vice President Catherine Ashton. The Agreement provides the legal framework for expanding EU-Mongolia relations and covers such issues as political dialogue, trade, development assistance, cooperation in the field of agriculture and rural development, energy, climate change, research and innovation, education and culture.

EU-Mongolia trade relations are governed by an agreement on trade and economic cooperation that entered into force in 1993. The two Parties accorded each other’s exports most-favoured-nation treatment and agreed to foster trade and economic relations.

The EU is one of Mongolia's main trading partners. In 2015, the total trade value between the EU and Mongolia reached EUR 403 million, of which Mongolia’s exports to the EU were EUR 84 million and EU exports to Mongolia EUR 319 million. The main exports from Mongolia to EU are raw materials and textiles (especially hair of Kashmir goats), EU exports to Mongolia consisted mainly of machinery, chemicals and food products. In 2015 the EU ranks the third biggest trading partner with 9% of total trade. Mongolia is the 137th EU trade partner.

The EU supports Mongolia’s efforts to create an enabling environment for business, policies aiming at product diversification, and the improvement of product quality. This would help increase the added value of Mongolian goods and make them more competitive.

Mongolia goods entering the EU market duty-free

In 2015, 20% of Mongolian goods enter the EU market duty-free under the Generalized System of Preferences – special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+). This gives them better access to markets and contributes to Mongolia's economic growth and sustainable development.

GSP+ status is granted to countries which ratify and implement core international conventions relating to human and labour rights, environment and good governance. Mongolia is a GSP+ beneficiary country since 2006.

The EU has funded a number of awareness and capacity building projects under the GSP+ scheme to support Mongolian export industries and all other stakeholders.

EU-funded ILO project on labour rights in GSP+ countries

The European Commission has provided a grant to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for a 2-year pilot-project to strengthen the capacity of public administrations to meet their obligations (including reporting) under the ILO's conventions, which are considered as fundamental principles and rights at work. Such assistance will consist of ILO technical assistance, workshops, trainings, as well as awareness-raising activities. The project was launched on 1 October 2015 and also covers Mongolia.

For information on EU trade related issues please see:

For statistics on EU Mongolia Trade please see:

For more information on GSP+ related issues please see:

For more information on the International Labour Organisation project see:

In addition, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) operates in the country. The opening of an EBRD office in Ulaanbaatar in 2006 has further increased economic cooperation between Europe and Mongolia.

For more specific information see: Mongolia and the EBRD

Development assistance is an important pillar of  EU-Mongolia relations. It supports the Mongolian government and Mongolia's civil society, with the ultimate objective of eradicating poverty while enhancing sustainable development, including the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals.

Bilateral relations between the European Union and Mongolia, including development co-operation, started in 1996 with the EC-Mongolia Cooperation Agreement of 1996. Since then, development cooperation has always increased through the successive support:

  • 2002- 2006 TACIS National Indicative Programme for Mongolia – MEUR 15
  • 2007 – 2013 DCI Country Strategy Paper – MEUR 29
  • 2014 – 2020 Multi Indicative Programme – MEUR 65.

The New Multi Indicative Programme 2014 – 2020 

With this ongoing Programme, the EU aims to assist Mongolia towards further stabilising its democratic system and promoting sustainable development and economic diversification in order for the country to fulfil its ambition of becoming a middle income country (MIC) by 2021 while successively adapting to relevant European norms and standards. In the light of the mineral wealth of the country and its economic overdependence on the mining sector, the EU focuses its assistance on 2 focal sectors:

Focal Area 1: Improved governance of revenues for inclusive and sustainable growth;

Focal Area 2: Support for better employment opportunities, by creating skilled jobs and decent work outside the mining sector.

From this MIP, a new project "Support to Employment Creation in Mongolia" (SECiM, MEUR 8.2) has  already been mobilised and is under implementation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry.

Other funding sources

There other budget lines and programmes which complete the national bilateral assistance:

  • The EU supports the regional integration of Mongolia and its trade facilitation with an additional MEUR 5 (TRAM), through the regional Envelope (Asia);
  • A support through the Asian Investment Facility (AIF) is offered for facilitating the Access to Finance for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), with a grant of 9.2 MEUR to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which will provide loans to local commercial banks and SMEs amounting up to 100 MEUR.

Engagement with the civil society besides bilateral cooperation

Other EU budget lines fund 9 other projects directed to the Civil Society Organisations for a total amount of MEUR 6.5. It concerns the following thematic budget lines:

  • European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR);
  • Support to Non State Actors and Local Authorities (NSA-LA);
  • Sustainable production and Consumption practices, through the programme called SWITCH-Asia.

For more detailed information, click under the Heading Projects.

Research and innovation collaboration forms an integral part of the EU-Mongolia partnership. European and Mongolian scientists have already worked together on a number of issues of common interest and mutual benefit through previous European Framework Programmes. Mongolian institutions and individuals have been in the past and continue to be in the future eligible to participate in numerous EU programmes in higher education and research.

Europe as Mongolia's excellent partner

Europe is a key partner in science, technology and innovation. The European Union (EU) is one of the leading regions of the world in Research, Innovation and Science. The EU is today the main knowledge production centre worldwide, accounting for almost a third of the world’s science and technology production. At the same time, the European Union is responsible for 24% of world expenditure on research, 32% of high impact publications and 32% of patent applications, while representing only 7% of the world population.

HORIZON 2020 – The EU's Funding Programme for Research and Innovation

Horizon 2020, the EU's framework programme for research and innovation will run from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of nearly EUR 80 billion. Horizon 2020 – which is fully open to international cooperation – is the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever. It will lead to more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. Horizon 2020 is based on 3 pillars: Excellent Science, Industrial Leadership and Societal Challenges. It offers funding for collaborative research, individual researcher mobility and training, research infrastructures and many more.

How can Mongolian participants apply?

Horizon 2020 is fully open to Mongolian participation in all fields and areas. This programme is open to participation of universities and research institutes, companies, and other institutions.

  • Mongolian participation is encouraged in ALL Calls for Proposals of Horizon 2020.
  • The best Mongolian teams and individual researchers can connect with Europe’s excellence in research and innovation.
  • Mongolia can gain access to Europe's knowledge, access to data, access to infrastructures and access to world-leading scientific networks.

Mongolian Researchers, enterprises and institutions are strongly encouraged to team up with their European partners to make best use of Europe’s excellent opportunities in research and innovation. Mongolian research and innovation stakeholders are invited to either become partners in collaborative research projects or to apply to fellowship grants and mobility schemes provided by the European Research Council and Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Actions.

Overall, the new international cooperation strategy of Horizon 2020 focuses on research in areas of common interest and mutual benefit.

How to apply?

The first Work Programmes 2016/2017 and 173 Calls for Proposals HORIZON 2020 are expected to be published or even have been already launched. Researchers and innovators from Mongolia are fully eligible to participate in any research projects with EU partners and to receive funding from Horizon 2020.

Find a suitable Call for Proposals

Find project partners -  on CORDIS or using National Contact Point in Mongolia (Mongolian Academy of Sciences)

  • Create an account on the Participant Portal and register your organisation
  • Prepare your project proposal, when appropriate with your partners
  • Submit your project proposal to the European Commission
  • Evaluation by external independent experts
  • Signature of the Grant Agreement

National Contact Point

The National Contact Point for Horizon 2020 was set up in the Mongolian Academy of Sciences in March 2014. The National Contact Point is a national structure established to give personalised support on the spot and in applicants' language. This would help Mongolian applicants to success in their applications, increasing the number of joint projects.

Information Seminar on Horizon 2020 in Ulaanbaatar

Built on the great success of the first edition in 2013, a second joint information Seminar on Horizon 2020 was held on May 2015 to promoting a closer bilateral relationship between the EU and Mongolia. This event fully demonstrated to Mongolian researchers and other stakeholders the potential of collaborating with Europe in research and innovation through either programmes at EU level or via the bilateral programmes of the individual EU Member States.

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