Political relations between the European Union and Rwanda have been developing steadily since the independence of Rwanda in 1962, establishment of the presence of the European Union in Rwanda in the mid-1980s and formalisation of the relations in 1991 with the signature of an "accord de siege" with the Rwandan Government.
The EU’s joint foreign and security policy, manifested in the EU's Global Strategy is designed preserve peace, strengthen international security, promote international cooperation as well as to develop and consolidate democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The strategy ensures the credibility, responsiveness and coherence of the Union, in particular, by joining up EU and Member States' external policies, in areas such as trade, development cooperation, humanitarian aid, or migration.
The EU and Rwanda share interests and policy priorities in keeping peace and security in the region, in particular, the African Great Lakes region, but also more broadly on the continent, and jointly cooperate in a number of missions (e.g. Central Africa) and initiatives (Emergency Transfer mechanism for refugees evacuated from Libyan camps). Through political dialogue, the possibility of cooperation and coordination of approaches on multilateral matters, such as climate diplomacy, international migration or the international trading rules is pursued.
Political relations between the EU and Rwanda are part of a broader EU – Africa partnership anchored in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy adopted by Heads of State and Government at the second EU-Africa Summit in 2007. During the 5th AU-EU Summit on 29-30 November 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, EU and African leaders adopted a Joint Declaration on 'Investing in Youth for Accelerated Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development' - external link. Following up on this, the former President of the EU Commission J.C. Juncker announced a new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs in his State of the Union Address on 12 September 2018, proposing to
- boost strategic investment and strengthening the role of the private sector to create jobs
- invest in people by investing in education and skills
- strengthen business environment and investment climate
- tap the full potential of economic integration and trade.
While initially the focus has been primarily on development cooperation, the signature of the ACP - EU Partnership Cotonou Agreement in 2000, created space for broadening of bilateral relations also to political, economic and trade areas through the establishment of a platform for regular political dialogue as well as other types of formal and informal consultations.