Relations between the EU and Sri Lanka go back to 1975 and are governed by a Co-operation and Partnership Agreement which came into force in April 1995. The EU opened a delegation in Colombo in 1995. An EU-Sri Lanka Re-admission agreement has been in force since May 2005.
EU-Sri Lanka dialogue ranges from political matters to areas such as trade, human rights, migration, civil aviation, environment, etc. The EU-Sri Lanka Joint Commission is the body responsible for the coordination of EU-Sri Lanka relations under the 1995 bilateral agreement.
The EU is Sri Lanka’s first trading partner. EU-Sri Lanka trade flows in 2009 amounted to € 2,9 billion, with a very significant trade surplus for Sri Lanka of € 1.1 million.
Sri Lanka benefited from a large Tsunami response programme in 2006. Furthermore, €112 million has been earmarked for assistance to Sri Lanka under the Development Cooperation Instrument in 2007-2013 with a focus on supporting the peace process and poverty reduction in the North and East.
On 15th August 2010, the EU temporarily withdrew “GSP+” trade preferences for Sri Lanka, following an investigation regarding the lack of effective implementation of three UN Human Rights conventions.