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The EU holds regular sessions of political dialogue with the government of Haiti in accordance with article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, which governs relations between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. In recent years, this dialogue has been particularly focused on strengthening governance in Haiti.
In December 2007, the EU and the CARIFORUM signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The agreement was signed by Haiti in December 2009 and is awaiting ratification by the parliament. This is the first time that Caribbean countries, including the two countries on the island of Hispaniola - Haiti and the Dominican Republic - have as a group jointly negotiated a long-term free-trade agreement. The EPA gives Caribbean products free access to European markets, with no tariff or quota restrictions, while there is a transition period of between 3 and 25 years for the free access of European goods to markets in CARIFORUM countries.
Haiti has for many years featured among the priority countries of EU cooperation, and the EU is one of the main providers of funds for Haiti. Between 2000 and 2010 alone, more than €500 million was allocated to support the country’s development.
The devastating earthquake of 12 January 2010 only strengthened the European commitment to Haiti. In order to provide vital assistance and help rebuild the country, the EU (European Commission and EU countries combined), decided to provide more than €1.2 billion (or USD 1.8 billion) at the international conference on rebuilding Haiti which took place in New York in March 2010. The European Commission’s contribution to this significant effort amounted to €522 million. Between 2008 and 2013, a total of €889 million was allocated by the EU (excluding bilateral aid from EU countries) to help the country.
The EU’s programmes in Haiti derive from the national indicative programme and the strategy document signed by the European Commission and the government of Haiti, which set the development cooperation priorities for the period 2014-2020.
In order to complement EU countries’ contributions to Haiti as much as possible, the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) is focusing its support, totalling €420 million, primarily on State reform, infrastructure and urban development, food security and education.
Other sectors are also supported, notably binational cooperation with the Dominican Republic, trade and economic development, the social sectors, support for civil society and local authorities, and the promotion of human rights and democracy.
The EU also provides significant humanitarian aid to Haiti through the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) which has an office in Haiti.
Haiti is the main beneficiary of the EU’s humanitarian aid and disaster preparation efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean. Since 1995, this support has totalled more than €355 million. The aid has been used following disasters that have devastated the country over recent years, notably the destructive 2010 earthquake and the cholera epidemic. Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) actions as well as efforts to strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable groups in the population have also be undertaken.
Following Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, the EU released almost €20 million in humanitarian aid and, in response to a request from the Haitian government, activated the EU civil protection mechanism which enabled the provision of food, medicine and medical equipment, units for producing drinking water and purifying water, as well as materials and teams for the rebuild from EU countries (Denmark, Spain, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom).
The EU and its countries make sure that emergency aid and development aid are linked efficiently, through close coordination between the different services in charge of programmes and through ongoing communication with the authorities.