Costa Rica is considered a development success story in many respects. Being now an upper/middle-income country, it has experienced steady economic growth over the last 25 years. Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector, Costa Rica managed to expand its economy to strong technology and tourism industries. Thanks to the country's commitment to social inclusion and the enhancement of human development, Costa Rica is considered to be one of the countries with the best human development performance.
For the above reasons, Costa Rica has "graduated" from EU cooperation under the financial exercise 2014-2020, therefore it will no longer be eligible for receiving EU bi-lateral assistance. However, Costa Rica will continue to benefit from the EU thematic lines, the regional programmes for Latin America and from the sub-regional programme for Central America.
EU cooperation 2007-2013
For the 2007–2013 period an allocation of €34 million was earmarked under the EU's financing Instrument for Development Cooperation on two main focal sectors of intervention:
- Improving social cohesion by supporting the modernisation of the State, with a view to improving social services and reducing poverty and social and geographical inequalities, targeting the most vulnerable groups;
- Supporting regional integration in Central America, with a view to supporting the country's efforts to develop convergent policies with the region, making it more competitive and improving its trading position.
The EU has also financed programmes, under thematic lines, that promote gender equality and environment protection.
Costa Rica is a signatory of the EU-Central America Association Agreement, a comprehensive free trade agreement with a strong focus on development cooperation. As in the past, Costa Rica will continue to benefit during 2014-2020 from the EU sub-regional programme for Central America (€120 million). It must be noted that the focal sectors of cooperation for the sub-regional have evolved for this period. In the past, cooperation was mainly focused on social cohesion and economic growth, while the new programming exercise responds to the emerging needs of the region, namely security and impunity, climate change and private sector development as a vehicle for generating employment opportunities.