Dominica has had a formal relationship with the European Union (then the European Economic Community) since 1979. As a former British colony, which became independent in 1978, it was the entry into the EEC by Britain in 1973 which offered Dominica and other Commonwealth countries in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) the possibility of negotiating their future relations with the EU.
The overall aim of EU co-operation is to improve the quality of life of the populations in the beneficiary countries through targeted and sustainable programmes. In 2014 the EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, which covers Dominica, disbursed just over EUR 80 million in development co-operation aid amongst the ten countries it is accredited to in the region.
Historically EU-ACP co-operation has been underpinned by four Lome agreements and now the Cotonou Agreement signed in 2000, through which the European Development Fund (EDF) provides grant aid towards development projects and programmes. The European Commission manages the funds and jointly implements the projects.
Today the EU is Dominica largest grant aid partner for development. The present EU 11th EDF intervention in Dominica focuses on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, and has a financial envelope of EUR 2.6 million. An amount of EUR 180,000 has been set aside to support civil society organisations, specifically the Non-State Actors (NSA) Advisory Panel, which is actively involved in all aspects of our cooperation from programme formulation to implementation. This allocation may also be used to finance actions linked to cross cutting issues.
Past Projects and programmes supported by the EU in Dominica include upgrading of the facilities at the country's main airport whereby night landing equipment and navigational aids were provided; establishment of a Social Investment Fund; implementation of an eco-tourism project which includes the Waitukibuli national trail programme; private sector growth and development programme which emphasise the strengthening of customs as well as the investment environment in the country; the development of a solid waste landfill; and upgrade of water supply infrastructure in the Carib territory, as well as water and sewage sanitation.
As a response to the present global financial crisis Dominica has benefitted from EUR 5 million in grants from the Vulnerability FLEX mechanism, which was the European Union's swift response to help countries which were the most affected due to their poor resilience to external shocks.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) also helps to implement the EU’s cooperation and development policies outside the EU and has made loans available to Dominica. The EIB has provided credit lines to the Dominica Agricultural Industrial Development Bank for the financing of small and medium enterprises.
The EU is placing increasing emphasis on climate change, alternative energy and food security as well as mainstreaming issues such as environmental protection, gender and governance in its development co-operation. The EU is committed to the promotion of Human Rights, the rule of law and democracy worldwide.
As it pertains to the Regional dimension Dominica and the EU conduct relations not only at bilateral level, but within the framework of several regional groupings and other fora.
The European Union, in seeking a partnership for growth, stability and development with the Caribbean, supports the ongoing process of regional integration within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). As a member of CARICOM, Dominica is deeply involved in the policy dialogue between the EU and CARICOM and benefits from the resources made available under the EU Strategy for the Caribbean. Dominica also benefits from its participation in the EU-Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) summits that take place bi-annually. Heads of State and Government of the EU and the Latin America and the Caribbean countries met in June 2015 for the 7th EU-LAC Summit.