Political & economic relations
The European Union opened a Delegation Office in Colombo in 1995, which is also accredited to the Maldives.
Relations between the European Union and Sri Lanka dates back to 1975 when the European Commission concluded with the Government of Sri Lanka a Commercial Co-operation Agreement. Today relations between the European Union and Sri Lanka are governed by a more comprehensive Co-operation Agreement on Partnership and Development which came into force in April 1995.
The general objectives of this Co-operation Agreement are to enhance and develop, through dialogue and partnership, the various aspects of co-operation between the European Union and Sri Lanka.
Under this broad legal framework, co-operation ties are based on the respect for democratic principles and human rights.
The current agreement covers a number of key areas of cooperation, such as;
- diversification of trade and investment
- networking between EU and Sri Lankan business communities
- strengthening technical, economic and cultural linkages, providing technical assistance to Sri Lanka to interact more effectively with the European Union
- supporting Sri Lanka's efforts in improving the living conditions of the poorer sections of the population
- environmental protection and sustainable management of natural resources.
Dialogue between the European Union and Sri Lanka takes place under the Joint Commission (composed of representatives of both EU and Sri Lanka). The objective of the Joint Commission is to ensure the proper functioning and implementation of the Cooperation Agreement, to make suitable recommendations to promote the objectives of the Agreement and examine ways and means to enhance the cooperation in the areas covered by the Agreement. The last EU/Sri Lanka Joint Commission was held in Colombo in June 2008
An EU-Sri Lanka Re-admission agreement has also been in force since May 2005 in order to combat illegal immigration more effectively.