The general framework for cooperation between the EU and Algeria is set by the Association Agreement (AA) signed in 2002, which entered into force in 2005 and establishes all areas of cooperation between the parties. In 2015, Algeria officially expressed its willingness to reassess the AA. The reassessment enabled the adoption of the partnership's priorities in 2017.
A permanent dialogue
On the political level, the Association Agreement provides for political dialogue on all matters of common interest to the parties. Dialogue is established at different levels: Association Council (ministerial), Association Committee (senior officials) and Sub-committees on political dialogue, security and human rights.
Other technical subcommittees created under the Agreement deal with areas such as migration, home affairs, justice, social affairs, etc.
On 31 August 2015, Algeria officially expressed its willingness to re-evaluate the Association Agreement, which was the subject of numerous meetings in Algiers and Brussels during 2016 and the adoption of a document on the measures to be implemented to rebalance this Agreement.
The negotiations that followed led to the adoption of the priorities of the Algeria-EU partnership at the 10th Association Council held in Brussels on 13 March 2017.
The common priority themes adopted and renewed concern:
- Political dialogue, governance, rule of law and promotion of fundamental rights.
- Overall social and economic development and trade; Access to the European common market.
- Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development Partnership.
- Strategy and security dialogue (including regional issues and the fight against terrorism).
- Human dimension, migration, mobility.
Priority to economic diversification
Support for economic transition and diversification is an essential part of cooperation with Algeria, and the EU is financing a number of programmes in this area.
Euro-Algerian cooperation to develop a diversified and competitive economy is essential to strengthen Algerian exports to the EU Single Market as well as to other countries.
In order to make the business climate in Algeria attractive, the EU is committed to developing a reinforced dialogue on the implementation of a new Algerian economic model, based on:
- Strengthening enterprise, initiative and private entrepreneurship.
- Strengthening public-private cooperation and the knowledge economy.
It is in this logic that the assessment of the AA shed light on the need to strengthen cooperation between the two parties, especially in the following sectors:
- Rural and agricultural development, fishing, maritime economy, tourism (especially sustainable).
- Public procurement, statistics and customs.
- Information and communication technologies (ICT).
- Energy: This sector occupies a very important place in the economic relations between the EU and Algeria. Algeria is the EU's third-largest supplier of natural gas, while the EU is the most significant market for Algerian gas. Since 2015, the EU-Algeria strategic partnership in the field of energy seeks to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency and encourage investments.
The EU, Algeria's first partner
The EU receives almost two-thirds of Algeria's exports, making it Algeria's main trading partner.
In value terms, bilateral trade increased by 136% between 2002 and 2014, mainly due to the increase in exports of oil products and gas. In 2018, bilateral trade reached EUR 39.8 billion, a slight increase from EUR 37.4 billion in 2017. In contrast, a fairly significant decrease was observed in 2019 and 2020.
- In 2020, trade in goods between the EU and Algeria amounted to EUR 24.9 billion.
- European imports amounted to EUR 11.4 billion. They consisted mainly of hydrocarbons and mining products (93.5%), followed by chemical products (3.3%).
- European exports to Algeria amounted to EUR 13.5 billion, made up of machinery and transport equipment (28.9%), agricultural products and raw materials (23.7%), and chemicals (20.0%).
- Trade in services was around EUR 4.6 billion in 2019. Imports of services to the EU accounted for EUR 1.5 billion and exports for EUR 3.1 billion.
- The stock of European investments in Algeria was estimated at 14,5 billion euros at the end of 2019.
Technical and Financial Cooperation
Know-how, expertise and technical assistance
Algeria and the EU share the same geographical area, the Mediterranean, and are linked by close relations in the economic, commercial and cultural fields.
Technical cooperation aims to support and deepen these relationships, particularly in the areas of the Partnership Priorities.
It is implemented through the following instruments:
- Technical assistance enables the provision of know-how and skills. The beneficiaries are public institutions or private actors.
- Twinning makes it possible to unite the skills of the public sector of the EU Member States and Algeria and to promote their rapprochement.
- TAIEX is a technical assistance and information exchange instrument.
- SIGMA (support for the improvement of governance management) strengthens public governance systems and administrative capacities.
- Project grants help to strengthen the role of civil society organisations.
Under the seal of intercultural dialogue
Cultural cooperation between EU and Algeria allows the organization of several events, which aim to make known the variety of European culture in Algeria, but also to promote young Algerian talents.
Among the events supported by the EU in Algeria:
- The European Festival, which is celebrating its 21st edition in 2021. The FE has become an essential event in the Algerian cultural landscape, which highlights, through a diversified program, the richness and diversity of European and Algerian cultural heritage by promoting intercultural dialogue and living together.
- Algiers International Book Fair is the most important literary event in Africa, attracting 2 million visitors each year. Algeria is taking part with a stand dedicated to the presentation of EU cooperation programmes in Algeria and exchange and discussion workshops on the subjects of youth, citizenship, the environment, child human rights, etc.
- Euro maghrebian Writers' Meetings: annual literary event dedicated to exchange and debate between Algerian and European authors.
- The Algerian-European Residencies of Photographers, which allow Algerian and European photographers to jointly create works related to a region of Algeria and exhibit them in a photographic exhibition.
Steadfast support for Sahrawi refugees
A population of Sahrawi refugees has settled in five camps south of Tindouf for several decades awaiting the conflict affecting the non-autonomous territory of Western Sahara to be settled.
The EU regards the refugee crisis as a forgotten crisis and since 1993 has been responding to the vital needs of the most vulnerable refugees with the assistance of €239,998,500 (9 million allocated for 2019) intended to:
- Food aid: more than 5 million euros are dedicated to providing basic food as well as food supplements to fight against malnutrition.
- Water: the EU helps ensure a sufficient supply of drinking water. Running water networks have been built and the tank truck fleet has been renewed in order to reach neighbourhoods that cannot be accessed by this network.
- The EU contributes to the supply of medicines covering around 80% of the needs of refugees, and the staff of health facilities.
- Specific assistance is provided to people living with disabilities and their carers in order to improve their autonomy and inclusion.
- The EU supports access to quality education in decent and safe conditions, mainly for girls.
- COVID-19: in 2020-21, the EU has allocated almost EUR 1.5 million to strengthen emergency services in local hospitals, as well as efforts to support the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the Sahrawi camps.