The EU and Cabo Verde have ensured a very constructive relationship for more than four decades, based on cooperation and dialogue. Today, Cabo Verde and the EU share common values such as democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, promotion of multilateralism and rules based global order. The very successful evolution of the relationship in these areas led to the creation of the EU-Cabo Verde Special Partnership in 2007, which keeps evolving and being reinforced until nowadays.
Besides ministerial annual meetings, an intense political dialogue has taken place in recent years through high-level meetings between the EU and Cabo Verdean political counterparts. During the last years, the former President of the European Commission, EU Commissioners and EU high-ranking officials visited Cabo Verde. On the other side, Cabo Verdean authorities such as the President of the Republic, the President of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister and other Ministers also visited the EU and its Member-States.
The Special Partnership establishes, since 2007, a constant political dialogue that aims at raising the donor-beneficiary relationship to a partnership covering many other common interests. This is the only Special Partnership between the EU and an African country and it is based on six pillars: Good governance; Security and stability; Regional integration; Convergence of technical and standards policies; Knowledge-based Society; Fight against poverty and the promotion of sustainable development.
In 2017, both parts agreed on three new cooperation areas:
- Investment, jobs and growth.
- Ocean governance and blue economy.
- Reform of the administration.
In the framework of this partnership, an Action Plan for Security and Stability was adopted at the Ministerial Meeting in Luxembourg in 2015.
In 2008, the EU and Cabo Verde signed a Mobility Partnership. This agreement provides a framework for political dialogue and cooperation on migration which includes a Visa Facilitation and a Readmission agreement and established the Common Centre of Visas, managed by Portugal, in partnership with Belgium and Luxembourg, which processes visa requests to 19 European countries.
Economic Relations, Trade and Investments
The EU remains the main trading partner of Cabo Verde, being that the trade with the EU accounts for over 80% of the total trade of Cabo Verde summing up to €734 million in 2019.
Europe remains the main export destination of Cabo Verdean products (95%) in 2020 (World Bank and Eurostat), being fish products the most exported ones.
International trade is essential for the economic development of Cabo Verde. Through the General System of Preferences (GSP+), the EU facilitates the entrances of the products from 9 countries in the single market with exemption from customs duty, among them is Cabo Verde. This exemption is granted on the basis that these countries comply with the international law conventions regarding Human Rights, Labour Rights, Good Governance and Environment Protection.
Cabo Verde is the only African country benefiting from this facility.
More than 79% of all imports from Cabo Verde benefit from preferential GSP+ duties.
Sustainable Development and Green Economy
EU Green Deal
The EU's new Green Deal is "a new growth strategy to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, so that there will be no net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and where economic growth is significant. "The environmental ambition of the Green Deal will not be achieved by the EU alone", but in cooperation with its partners.
In addition to the new pillar of the special partnership (Oceans and Blue Economy), the EU in Cabo Verde has been developing other projects in the area of climate, energy transition and ecosystems.
The EU has actively contributed to the development of the Blue Economy in Cabo Verde.
International Ocean Governance concerns the management and use of the oceans and their resources in a way that keeps them healthy, productive, safe and resilient. Today, 60% of the oceans are outside national areas of jurisdiction. This implies a shared international responsibility. The European Union's action in International Ocean Governance aims to build a structure and, together with other partners, improve the state of this crucial resource open to all States.
International Ocean Governance, as well as the Blue Economy and Maritime Spatial Planning, are increasingly a priority for EU External Action. Due to its unique geographical position, Cabo Verde is a valuable EU partner with great potential in these areas. Based on the Fisheries Agreement between the EU and CV there are several activities and projects developed in these areas, especially in the Blue Economy. The development in this area allows the sustainable economic growth of Cabo Verde.
The Blue Economy in Cabo Verde contributes to the following areas: trade, job creation, scientific knowledge, consolidation of the value chain, environmental protection and biodiversity and maritime safety.
Development cooperation & Humanitarian aid
The European Development Fund is the main source of cooperation between the EU and Cabo Verde. The European Development Fund includes contributions from EU Member States towards financing cooperation projects and activities in Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific countries, previously identified during the design of the relevant National Indicative Programmes and Regional Indicative Programmes.
Budget Support is an EU cooperation instrument that aims to contribute to Public Aid for Development. It consists of financial transfers made directly to Cabo Verde's National Treasury that on its side ensures good management of public finances. Cabo Verde benefited from the EU Budget Support modality since 1998 and it is currently the main EU financial contribution to the archipelago, representing around 95% of the total amount. Since 2016, the EU's contribution to the Budget Support has been more than EUR 55 Million, from which EUR 14 Million were allocated through an emergency contribution for Drought and Floods (climate change consequences).
The European Union has established an ambitious agenda on Gender Equality, setting as main goals for the period between 2020-2025:
- The elimination of gender-based violence.
- The challenge of gender stereotypes.
- The elimination of gender gaps in the labour market.
- The achievement of equal participation in different sectors of the economy.
- Tackling the pay and pension gap.
- The elimination of gender gaps and achieving gender balance in decision-making and politics.
The EU Strategy is based on a dual approach of gender main streaming combined with targeted actions and intersection. This strategy focuses on actions within the EU, but also guides EU external policy towards gender equality and women's empowerment in partner countries such as Cabo Verde.
The EU is stepping up its support for gender equality in the country by promoting sustainable legal and structural changes in national social practices and policies through a variety of local measures, events and campaigns. Gender indicators have been introduced in the EU budget support programme, such as the creation of a support fund for Gender-Based Violence victims, and support to the national budget to address gender issues. In 2019, and the EU contributed to the implementation of the Parity Law, effectively adopted by Parliament on 28 October 2019.
The sustainable fisheries partnership agreement
The Sustainable fisheries partnership agreement in place between the EU and Cabo Verde benefits both parties and aims to promote responsible and sustainable fishing in Cabo Verdean waters, as well as reduce illegal fishing and overfishing. More information about the Fisheries Agreement here.
A new complementary protocol of the Fisheries Agreement was signed in May 2019. Under the new protocol for the period of five years, 69 EU vessels can fish for tuna and similar species in CaboVerdean waters. In return, the EU will pay Cabo Verde a contribution of EUR 750,000 per year. Of this annual contribution, EUR 350,000 are reserved for promoting sustainable fisheries management in Cabo Verde, including capacity building for reinforced control and supervision and development of fish stocks, development of the blue economy to generate growth and jobs, and support to local fishing with a view to sustainable exploitation, supply and development in the sector. In addition, EU fishing vessels will pay an estimated amount of EUR 600,000 per year.
Madeira, Azores, Canaries (MAC-FEDER) cooperation programme 2014-2020
Cooperation between Cabo Verde and the outermost regions of Macaronesia has been promoted through the European territorial cooperation programme, particularly through the different phases of the MAC-FEDER programme.
The MAC-FEDER programme 2014-2020 includes a significant budget of EUR 112 Million. Cabo Verde participates in 42 projects, being the most significant partnership with third countries in the MAC region.
The EU supports several cultural projects, namely in the areas of promotion and dissemination of musical groups, gastronomy, museology, local handicraft, among others.
The Programme PALOP-TL is inserted in this thematic, and is implemented by Instituto Camões, I.P.
The PALOP and TL — EU cooperation is intended to strengthen the relationship between the Portuguese-speaking African countries, East Timor and the EU Member States. It has been active since 1992, being extended to integrate East Timor in 2007. Cabo Verde benefits from numerous projects and activities from this cooperation.
Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law
Cabo Verde is a functioning democracy with good standards of governance, where human rights are generally respected. The country has stable political institutions and a well-functioning multiparty parliamentary democracy since 1991.
Thanks to its good Human Rights record, Cabo Verde enjoys the benefits of the EU's GSP+ trade regime, being the only country in Africa to do so. As a beneficiary of the GSP+ regime since January 2014, Cabo Verde has ratified all the 27 related UN human rights conventions.
Civil Society Dialogue
In Cabo Verde, the European Union has been supporting various civil society projects through the thematic programme "Civil society organizations and local authorities", the latter in the area of cultural heritage and sustainable tourism following calls for proposals in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
Five new projects that aim to support and strengthen civil society as an actor of sustainable development in the promotion of rights, the active participation of women and young people and the protection of children in vulnerable situations have been implemented since 2020.
Recently the Mapping for Civil Society, funded by the EU was published.
Science, Technology and Digitalisation
One of the pillars of the Special Partnership is the knowledge-based society. Therefore, students and Cabo Verdean Institutions benefit from European Programmes in these areas, namely HORIZON 2020 and ERASMUS+.
Is the biggest Research and Innovation EU Programme. EUR 80 Million were available between 2014 and 2020.
Erasmus+ is an exchange program financed by the EU that promotes academic mobility between EU MS and EU international partners. Cabo Verdean Academic Institutions benefit from this Programme. Scholarships are awarded every year to Cabo Verdean students and professors that want to study in the EU Member-States.
Like all countries, Cabo Verde has been affected by the spread of COVID-19.
From the beginning, the EU pledged to support the country by contributing budget support and vaccine donations to help the country get its economy back on its feet.
The European Union and its Member States have offered to Cabo Verde until November 2021, 565.050 doses of vaccines against COVID-19. Countries such as France, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Slovenia have contributed with vaccines to Cabo Verde, in addition to the contribution through the COVAX mechanism.