The European Union (EU) has a policy of critical engagement towards the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Its goals are to support a lasting diminution of tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the region, to uphold the international non-proliferation regime and to improve the situation of human rights in the DPRK.

Political relations

The EU supports international efforts to promote peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, in particular through support for international efforts to promote denuclearisation and an improvement in the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, commonly known as North Korea). 

Since 1998, the EU has been conducting regular political dialogue with the DPRK. The 14th session of this dialogue was held in Pyongyang between 19 and 24 June 2015.

The European Community established diplomatic relations in May 2001 and most EU countries have diplomatic relations with the DPRK. This provides an opportunity to discuss issues of importance to the EU including non-proliferation and human rights. The EU has regularly raised the human rights situation in the DPRK bilaterally and through United Nations (UN) bodies, including co-sponsoring country resolutions.

Humanitarian assistance

Since 1995, the EU has been involved in providing assistance to some of the most vulnerable communities in the DPRK.

Current activities are mainly oriented towards support for the agricultural sector and are financed under the Food Security Thematic Programme of the Development Cooperation Instrument. Projects are implemented by European teams working with DPRK partner organisations.

Economic and trade relations

The DPRK is not a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and does not benefit from privileges granted to imported goods from developing countries under the EU's General System of Preferences (GSP).