The European Union launched one of the largest programmes of development support in the country. The European Union will contribute Rs. 5.4 billion in to reduce poverty in the provinces by improving the income of poor people living in rural areas and helping to ensure that they have enough food to eat, even in times of hardship. Speaking […]
The European Union in Sri Lanka
Cooperation between the EU and Sri Lanka dates back to 1975 when the European Commission concluded a Commercial Cooperation Agreement with the Government of Sri Lanka. This was
upgraded to a Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development starting 1 April 1995 which encompassed amongst others, respect for human rights and democratic principles,
political dialogue, trade and investment, aid and cultural linkages. Under this agreement, relations between the two parties are coordinated by the EU-Sri Lanka Joint Commission. Today, the dialogue between the EU and Sri Lanka covers a broad spectrum of issues: political matters, human rights, trade, development cooperation, fisheries, migration, civil aviation, environmental issues.
Alongside the Government of Sri Lanka, the year 2005 witnessed the EU taking the lead in providing assistance to the less developed and conflict affected areas of the North and East.
What initially started as humanitarian assistance in the field of food, shelter, healthcare, psychosocial support and demining has now shaped into long-term development assistance thereby making substantial contributions for the benefit of local communities while at the same time supporting the overall development of the country. Recent development cooperation activities, particularly during the period 2005-2015, saw approximately € 760 million (more than Rs.100 billion) provided to Sri Lanka by the EU. A new allocation of € 210 million has been approved in support to the Multiannual Action Plan covering the period 2014-2020 which will focus on integrated rural development in a number of provinces and districts.
Also, the EU is one of Sri Lanka’s largest trading partners.
A review of EU-Sri Lanka 2014 trade data showed how important Sri Lanka’s trade relations with the EU have become:
- The EU is Sri Lanka’s largest export partner. Sri Lanka exported € 2.52 billion worth of products to the EU, which represented approximately 26% of Sri Lanka’s total exports.
- The EU is Sri Lanka’s fourth largest import partner (India being the largest followed by China and Singapore): Sri Lanka imported € 1.31 billion worth of products from the EU – which
accounted for approximately 8% of the country’s total imports.
- In terms of overall trade (imports + exports) the EU is Sri Lanka’s second largest trading partner accounting for € 3.83 billion worth of trade which represented approximately 15% of
Sri Lanka’s total trading volume.