A middle-income country, Thailand enjoys strong economic growth despite the setbacks of the 1997 financial crisis, the 2004 tsunami, the global financial crisis and the devasting floods of 2010. It has made remarkable progress in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – for poverty, hunger, gender, HIV/AIDS and malaria – well ahead of schedule.

Over the years, the European Union’s relations with Thailand have changed from a traditional donor-recipient relationship towards a true partnership for development. The EU is developing a role as a facilitator of knowledge sharing and a partner for policy dialogue on key sectoral issues.

The EU-Thailand Strategy Paper (2007-13)  outlines the target areas for cooperation: deeper economic relations, scientific and technological cooperation and education. Within these broad areas, the initial multi-annual programme 2007-10 allocated €8 million to: strengthening capacity in the public administration to advance Thailand's national development agenda and collaborating in the fight against organised crime and terrorism, good governance, and human rights.

EU-Thailand cooperation revolves around two main areas: a cooperation facility for technical assistance and higher education. The Thailand-EU cooperation facility is advancing economic development in the areas of trade and investment, environment and energy, research and technology and good governance.

Thailand also benefits from funding under the Erasmus Mundus programme which is providing grants to enable Thai students to study in the EU.

Thailand can also access the EU’s regional and thematic programmes.


Key country statistics

  • Total population (2015): 67 959 000
  • Life expectancy (at birth) (2015): 71 years (male), 78 years (female)
  • Human Development Index - High human development (2014): 0.726
  • Population living below $1.90 a day (2012): 0.1%
  • Income share held by lowest 40% of income distribution (2012): 17.1%
  • Upper Middle income country - Gross National Income per capita (2014): 3 564 US$ (constant 2005 US$)
  • Average Gross Domestic Product growth over 5 years (2010-2014): 3.9%

Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015


  • 1 300 teachers were trained in refugee camps of displaced Karen and Karenni
  • 57% of teachers in Karenni refugee camps were found to have increased their overall classroom performance and demonstrated increased knowledge and skills in providing quality education services to their students
  • 91% of teachers in Karen refugee camps were found to have increased their knowledge in providing quality services for students in all areas of teaching


  • 46 pregnant women from the displaced population of the Tak Province benefitted from antiretroviral therapy
  • 93 000 children from the displaced population of the Tak Province have received full vaccinations, with improved coverage of vaccines to a wider range of children.

Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change

  • 1 000 representatives from local administration and private companies benefitted from increased knowledge of green procurement
  • 10 companies received support in implementing sustainable production principles, specifically in reaching level 5 in the Green Industry Mark (GIM) certification system (the highest level which demonstrates green network, extending throughout green demand chains)
  • 20 people from the Department of Industrial Works and the green industry accreditation office were trained in international standards on quality management (ISO 9001), environmental management (ISO 14001) and Green Industry Marker certification