European Union External Action

Ecuador and the EU

Relations between the European Union (EU) and Ecuador have intensified in recent years within the 2003 Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement, which underpins relations between the EU and the Andean Community (CAN), consisting of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

This agreement has led to qualitative progress in the depth and scope of the relations between both parties, including new areas of interest, such as combating illegal drugs, regional integration and the promotion of sustainable development in the Andean region, among others.

Dialogue has also been strengthened by the extensive framework of regional relations between the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), of which Ecuador is a member.

In the Cooperation Framework Agreement, signed in 2001, the EU and Ecuador outlined the financial and technical aid that the European Commission would give to Ecuador. This agreement defines the required legal and technical framework for the development of the cooperation and is reinforced by the Memorandum of Understanding which both parties signed in 2007 and which established the priorities.

The strategic policy dialogue areas, established in the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014-2017, are as follows:

  • Economic diversification;
  • Driving and diversifying trade;
  • Poverty, inequality and exclusion;
  • Inclusive growth and stability;
  • Democracy and Human Rights;
  • Regional integration, key international role. 

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the Andean Community (CAN) expanded the areas of cooperation, with an emphasis on the economy and development, and sought to boost trade relations.

The 2003 agreement seeks to contribute to the economic development of the countries in the Andean region, including the development of their productive capacity and the strengthening of their export capacity, by guaranteeing a suitable balance between the economic, social and environmental components within the context of sustainable development.

Cooperation in terms of regional integration will promote the development of common policies and the harmonisation of the legal framework, including sectoral policies such as trade, customs, energy, transport, communications, environment and competition, and the coordination of macroeconomic policies in areas such as monetary and fiscal policies, as well as public finance.

Ecuador and the EU have been negotiating a Trade Agreement since 2014 which will enable them to benefit from a preferential trade agreement and to obtain better access for Ecuador’s main exports to the EU - fishing, bananas, cut flowers, coffee, cocoa, fruit and nuts. The Agreement will also provide better access to the Ecuadorian market for many of the EU’s key exports, such as the automotive sector or alcoholic drinks.

This agreement will not only ensure access to the markets, but will create a stable and predictable environment that helps to increase and diversify trade and investment between both parties, similar to existing arrangements with neighbouring countries Colombia and Peru.

In the last decade trade between Ecuador and the EU has been positive with a considerable increase in commercial transactions between both parties, evidenced by the following data:

  • In 2015 trade between Ecuador and the EU totalled EUR 4.594 million, making the EU Ecuador’s second most important trading partner, with 13.2 % of its total trade;
  • Since 2005, the value of the trade relations between both parties has increased by 86 %;
  • In 2015, Ecuador exported goods worth EUR 2.585 million to the EU, with a 63 % increase in the last decade;
  • 97 % of European imports from Ecuador are primary products and foodstuffs;
  • Ecuador ranks as the EU’s 60th most important trading partner, with 0.1 % of its total trade;
  • The deficit in Ecuador’s trade balance with the EU has decreased by 36 % since 2011. 

As a medium-high income country, Ecuador should, in principal, move up from the EU’s bilateral cooperation. However, in December 2013 the EU decided to make an exception to enable cooperation with Ecuador to continue during the period 2014-2017.

The Objective of the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014-2017, which has a Budget of EUR 67 million, is to consolidate the achievements of the ongoing cooperation to meet the development challenges that exist in the poorest regions of the country. The EU will support the government’s efforts to diversify the country’s economy and to develop sustainable trade.

EU cooperation in Ecuador focuses its support in two main areas of intervention:

  • Support for sustainable and inclusive growth at the local level.
  • Promotion of sustainable trade.

Ecuador also benefits from regional cooperation with the CAN and with Latin America

EU humanitarian aid for Ecuador is coordinated through the European Commission’s Department of Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), which offers an approach to humanitarian crises based on two priorities:

  • Overall plans for humanitarian aid;
  • Preparedness for natural disasters.

The objective of the disaster preparedness programme (DIPECHO) is to reduce the vulnerability of people who are exposed to high-risk situations, by raising national and local awareness to enable a quick response to natural catastrophes.

The Action Plan 2015-2016 for Ecuador proposes the following priorities:

  • Capacity building in communities;
  • Strengthening national and local institutions;
  • Interinstitutional coordination;
  • Building knowledge, new guidelines and tools. 
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