The Association Agreement between the European Union and Central America: a potential to be exploited

The case of the Association Agreement (AA) signed in 2013 between the European Union (EU) and Central America is very relevant within the framework of EU-Latin America relations. It is the first bi-regional agreement and builds on the precedents of the San José Process in the framework of the Esquipulas Agreements, a success story of the EU’s positive impact on international relations. This document analyses the development of the trade pillar and the difficulties in developing the political dialogue and cooperation pillars, which are pending ratification. The preliminary results of the agreement are positive, but of low intensity for the two regions. They have not lived up to expectations regarding the EU’s impact in supporting Central American development and have not generated significant incentives to improve Central America’s prominence among EU member states. Recovering the more informal but more dynamic mechanisms of political dialogue between the two regions prior to the agreement seems to be an indispensable condition for the agreement to develop its potential.