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Regional cooperation

Asia is a crucial partner for the EU, politically, economically, and culturally. The region accounts for more than half of the world’s population, a quarter of the economic wealth created every year, and is home to four of the ten largest economies in the world (Japan, China, India and Korea) yet countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Burma/Myanmar remain among the poorest. Many parts of the region are prone to natural disasters, and several countries are dealing with internal conflict which is often coupled with generally weak civil societies, making them more vulnerable and open to human rights abuses.


Why is the European Commission funding regional programmes in Asia ?

The EC programmes for regional co-operation complement national assistance programmes. They aim at tackling challenges with a regional dimension and promoting interstate co-operation on issues of mutual interest.

Who are the eligible countries?

The development cooperation with Asia covers 19 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philipinnes, Sri lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

As Brunei, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Hong Kong, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Macao and Singapore are industrialised countries, they are not covered by the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). They are benefiting from the so-called instrument for cooperation with industrialised and other high-income countries and territories - this instrument is allocated a budget of EUR 172 million for the period 2007-2013.

East Timor is considered as an ACP country, and as such is covered by the European Development Fund (EDF).

What are the priorities of action?

The Regional Strategy Paper for EU-Asia Co-operation pdf - 77 KB [77 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr) (2007-2013) and its related multiannual indicative programmes define the key areas of cooperation with Asian countries at regional level. It identifies three priorities for intervention:




  •  Support to uprooted people – in particular supporting the reconstruction and rehabilitation faced by people displaced by crises.


A total of €775 million (16% of the overall funding for Asia) has been specifically allocated for assistance at a regional level. The Multi-annual Indicative Programme (MIP) for the first four years (2007-2010) has been allocated €400 million. Currently a review of the first years of cooperation is ongoing and the MIP for the final three years,which will be allocated with €375 million, is being designed.

Last update: 29/08/2012 | Top