EU-Laos cooperation dates back to the 1970s. It is currently based on the EC-Lao PDR Cooperation Agreement from 1997. The EU Delegation in Vientiane was opened in 2003. Lao PDR hosted the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in November 2012.
Development cooperation is an important part of the cooperation, as Lao PDR is still a least developed country. It does, however, aim to graduate from that status by 2020. The Multi-annual Indicative Programme for our development cooperation for 2014-2015 focuses on education, nutrition and support for governance, as well as unexploded ordnances.
The bilateral relation has expanded in recent years to also cover environmental issues (climate change, forest governance).
The main forum for dialogue is a Joint Committee (senior officials) meeting every two years , with three working groups: cooperation, trade and human rights. The EU and Laos also have a regular human rights dialogue including issues such as freedom of expression, assembly and association, religion, Women and Children's rights and Human Rights Defenders. The most recent dialogue meeting took place in Brussels in May 2014.