Partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA)

Source: Europa Nu.

A partnership and cooperation agreements (PCA) is a legally binding agreement between the EU and third countries. It is one of three special types of international agreements. By means of a partnership and cooperation agreement the EU works to support the democratic and economic development of a country. A PCA is typically entered into for ten years, after which they are automatically extended each year provided no objections are raised.


Partnership and cooperation agreements in detail

Area of application

Member states are party to each PCA the European Union enters into with third countries. Member states are thus obligated to adhere to the provisions of a partnership and cooperation agreement.

The EU mainly enters into PCA's with countries with countries that are subject of the European neighbourhood policy such as former Soviet republics and northern Africa. The EU supports these countries in building a strong free market economy, a healthy climate for business and foreign investments and provides aid in fostering trade relations. Additionally, many PCA's include provisions on cooperation in the fields of culture, science and technology, administrative capacity and civil society.

Adopting partnership and cooperation agreements

The EU has a special agreement procedureĀ i with which to adopt partnership and cooperation agreements.

To ensure the objectives laid down in an agreement are met as well as to facilitate cooperation an cooperation council is instituted for each PCA.


Legal framework

International agreements are based on the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TfEU).

  • instrument: part five TfEU title V (art. 216 to 219)


Further information