Iraq has suffered decades of war, sanctions and internal conflict. The territorial defeat of Da'esh at the end of 2017 represents a window of opportunity to build an inclusive and accountable political system and restore the trust between the people and their institutions.
While an upper middle income country, development challenges include lack of adequate public services provision, limited governance, corruption, insufficient financial and human resources, lack of social contract between the people and the state, and environmental degradation.
In this fragile context, massive displacement of population and limited livelihoods opportunities, coupled with strong inequality in wealth distribution and a growing demographic bulge continue to add pressure to the already saturated job market.
The EU strategy for Iraq and the recently adopted EU-Iraq partnership and cooperation arrangement (PCA) are the cornerstone of our partnership with the country, reinforcing strategic policy dialogue, exchange of knowledge and focusing assistance in support to the human and social aspects of reconstruction, helping Iraq to consolidate stabilization gains and kick-start reconstruction efforts and economic development.
At the Conference for reconstruction of Iraq held in Kuwait in 2018 the High Representative/Vice-President of the European Union and Commissioner Mimica, strongly advocated for discussions and concrete support to the human and social dimension of reconstruction. In this occasion, the EU allocated €300 million in support to the country's development plans and help families and communities rebuild their lives and economy. This comes in addition to humanitarian and stabilisation aid to assist Iraq’s reconstruction efforts.
The EU provides humanitarian aid as well as long-term development support to Iraq’s stabilisation and reconstruction efforts.
Key strategic interests of the EU are to preserve security and stability (including at regional level) and to rebuild the social contract between the citizens and the institutions. Ensuring sustained improvements in governance, including of Iraq’s natural resources, fostering fair and sustainable employment opportunities and building a solid human capital are areas of strategic relevance to achieve these goals.
Over the last years, the EU has played a key role in areas such as stabilisation, public finance management (PFM), education and technical and vocational education and training (TVET), as well as job creation and growth. At the Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq held in Kuwait in February 2018, the EU pledged to support Iraq's reconstruction and development efforts with an additional €300 million. This support shows EU’s strong commitment to Iraq's path of peace and prosperity and comes in addition to €184 million portfolio since 2014.
Through the important work of the Funding Facility for Stabilisation and explosive risk management efforts, the EU – in partnership with UNDP and UNMAS - supported the return to their homes of more than 4.2 million Iraqi who had been displaced during the recent conflict. The EU has also recently joined forces with UNESCO to help to restore the rich cultural heritage of Mosul and Basrah, revive their cities and create much needed jobs and opportunities. With EU’s support, FAO helps communities in the rural areas of Ninewah to restore their agricultural livelihoods and economic activities.
The EU continues to support programmes to help people rebuild their lives and communities, with projects in areas including early recovery and resilience, provision of basic public services, sustainable job creation, private sector development, and migration.