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.