The Association Agreement between the EU and Honduras establishes political dialogue, cooperation and trade as means to achieve common objectives.
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Political relations between Honduras, as part of Central America, and the EU are governed by the Association Agreement, signed in 2012, which established three pillars: political dialogue, cooperation and trade.
The Association Agreement is the most important institutional bond the EU can establish with its partners at the global level. This kind of agreement is reserved for partners with whom the EU wants to have a strong long-term bond based on mutual trust and the defence of shared values and principles.
Europe has always had strong cultural, political and historical ties with Honduras.
Since the Stockholm Declaration of 1999, which covered such issues as governance, human rights and aid effectiveness, joint action plans have been developed between Honduras and its donors. Since 2010, the Honduran government's National Plan has provided a framework to coordinate all efforts and is the basis of the Multiannual Indicative Programme. The Framework Cooperation Agreement signed in 1993 together with other Central American countries forms the current legal basis for cooperation between Honduras and the European Union.
Economic relations between the EU and Honduras will grow stronger with the Association Agreement, whose trade pillar is fundamental for the development of economic and trade relations between Central America and the EU.
With the Association Agreement, both parties committed to initiating measures to promote economic development, considering mutual interests such as the eradication of poverty, job creation and fair and sustainable development.
The Association Agreement has also reinforced regional economic integration among Central American countries. With it, the EU wishes to have an indirect impact on the political integration process, which contributes to the region's stability. The economic and political integration of Honduras in the Central American region and the country's stability go hand in hand.
The signing of the Association Agreement strengthened the EU's trade relations with Central America and thus, with Honduras. The Agreement established a free trade area that promotes investment and the Central American region's competitiveness.
Honduran agriculture, with products like sugar, coffee and resin, is one of the sectors most benefited by the Association Agreement, but industrial sector exports to the EU have also increased.
Honduras contributes 32 % of total exports to the EU from the Central American region, while the EU is the country's second largest trade partner. According to figures from the Central Bank of Honduras, in 2015 the trade balance favoured Honduras, with a balance of almost 260 million dollars.
The EU also offers support on the web for exporting to its markets: Export Helpdesk.
Through its presence in Honduras, the European Union considers it very important to sustain ongoing dialogue with civil society. The goal of this dialogue is to advance already established ties and to give tangible form to relations with social actors, at the national as well as local level. In addition, it has a strategic framework to improve the impact, predictability and visibility of the EU's actions.
To fulfil this commitment with Honduran civil society, the Delegation of the European Union has designed a roadmap, which was approved for the 2014-2017 period. Conceived as a joint initiative between the European Union (EU) and Member States (MS), the roadmaps aim to achieve a more strategic commitment with civil society. The map consists of a matrix of priorities and political dialogue actions outlined by Honduras. A summarised version of this roadmap can be found here.
Honduras is located in one of the world's most disaster-prone regions. Since 1993, the EU has provided humanitarian aid to deal with natural disasters (like Hurricane Mitch in 1999 or Tropical Storm Agatha in 2010). The body responsible for EU humanitarian aid in Central America is ECHO, the Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.
Assistance has been given with a variety of actions such as providing temporary shelter, food, drinking water and medical help to those affected.
ECHO has contributed more than €34 million in Honduras since 1994. This contribution has helped save the lives of those affected by disasters and facilitated implementation of projects to strengthen the response of local communities and authorities to emergencies.
Technical and financial cooperation projects with Honduras are based on the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014-2020, which was developed from lessons learned after evaluating cooperation between the EU and Honduras from 2002 to 2009. The main topics are food security, employment and the rule of law.
The European Commission also manages technical and financial support programmes for civil society through calls launched from European Commission headquarters in Brussels or locally through the Delegation in Honduras. Topics include the environment, health and human rights.