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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 20 January 2014

EU announces future commitments for development cooperation with Iraq

Around €75 million of development support will be made available to Iraq during the period 2014 – 2020, has today announced European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, during a meeting with the Iraqi delegation led by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

The three proposed main areas of cooperation are: Rule of Law and Human Rights, Capacity Building in primary and secondary education and Sustainable Energy for all.

Commissioner Piebalgs said: The EU will focus future actions on strengthening rule of law and continue supporting institution building in Iraq aimed at reconstructing the country and improving the welfare of its population. This will be done in coordination with EU Member States and other donors, and in line with the government's own plans.”

On the challenges faced by the country, the Commissioner underlined that “over the past months the escalation of violence undermined its stability, but the EU is confident that the Iraqi authorities will work towards a successful transition to democracy and long term stability for the benefit of all of Iraq’s citizens.”

Since 2008 the European Union has provided around €157 million in bilateral cooperation to Iraq in the areas of governance, rule of law, health, water management and education.


EU Cooperation with Iraq complies with the principles set out in the Agenda for Change, the Commission’s blueprint to focus its development aid on those countries most in need (e.g. least developed countries) and those sectors where greater results can be achieved.

That is why, compared to the previous financial period (2008-2013), bilateral cooperation with Iraq has decreased. According to the latest World Bank classification, Iraq is an “upper-middle-income” country with a GNI/capita amounting to $5 870 (2012) (equivalent to €4 310). The main difficulties faced by Iraq are not caused by lack of resources, but rather political instability, weak capacities and inadequate governance. The EU support should, therefore, serve as a catalyst for transfer of expertise and know-how.

The main areas of cooperation are coherent with the Iraqi National Development Plan 2013-2017. The EU will support the Iraqi Government reforms on Rule of Law and Human Rights, Capacity Building in primary and secondary education and Sustainable Energy for all.

Regional and thematic cooperation will cover complementary areas (e.g democracy and human rights, civil society organizations and local authorities).

Examples of EU-funded projects in Iraq

The EU supports two education projects in Iraq with the objective of reducing disparity in access and quality of education. An improvement in teaching methodologies, schools management and community involvement with the training of a significant number of staff and civil society partners has been recorded so far. Child-friendly standards are met in 1,200 schools and 600,000 children now benefit from a child- friendly learning environment, teaching and learning methods.

There is a very dynamic and diverse civil society in Iraq that has significantly grown in the past few years. An EU-funded programme helps to improve the working relations between public authorities and civil society. Awareness sessions were held involving 1,010 participants from Iraqi civil society and public authorities.

For more information

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

Website of DG Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid – cooperation with Iraq:

Website of EU Delegation to Iraq:

Contacts :

Alexandre Polack (+32 2 299 06 77)

Maria Sanchez Aponte (+32 2 298 10 35)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e-mail

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