South Africa–European Union relations

The European Union (EU) has strong cultural and historical links to South Africa (particularly through immigration from the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, France, and Greece) and the EU is South Africa's biggest investor.[1]

European Union–South African relations


South Africa

Comparison table

 European Union  South Africa
Population 447,706,209 58,775,022
Area 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) 1,221,037 km2 (471,445 sq mi)
Population Density 117.2/km2 (303.5/sq mi) 42.4/km2 (109.8/sq mi)
Capital Brussels Pretoria
Government Supranational and intergovernmental union Unitary dominant-party parliamentary constitutional republic
Current leader Council President Charles Michel
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
President Cyril Ramaphosa
Deputy President David Mabuza
Official Languages 24 official languages, of which 3 considered "procedural" (English, French and German)[2] 11 official languages, English, Afrikaans, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu
Main Religions
Ethnic Groups Germans (ca. 80 million), French (ca. 67 million),
Italians (ca. 60 million), Spanish (ca. 47 million), Poles (ca. 46 million),
Romanians (ca. 16 million), Dutch (ca. 13 million), Greeks (ca. 11 million),
Portuguese (ca. 11 million),
80.7% Black African,
8.8% Coloured,
7.9% White,
2.6% Asian
GDP (nominal) $16.477 trillion, $31,801 per capita $369.854 billion, $6,193 per capita


Since the end of South Africa's apartheid, EU South African relations have flourished and they began a "Strategic Partnership" in 2007. In 1999 the two sides signed a Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) which entered into force in 2004, with some provisions being applied from 2000. The TDCA covered a wide range of issues from political cooperation, development and the establishment of a free trade area (FTA).[1] The liberalisation schedules were completed by 2012.[4] Since the signing of the Agreement, trade in goods between the two partners has increased by more than 120%, and foreign direct investment has grown five-fold.[4]


South Africa is the EU's largest trading partner in Southern Africa and has a FTA with the EU. South Africa's main exports to the EU are fuels and mining products (27%), machinery and transport equipment (18%) and other semi-manufactured goods (16%). However they are growing and becoming more diverse. European exports to South Africa are primarily machinery & transport equipment (50%), chemicals (15%) and other semi-machinery (10%).[4]

EU – South Africa trade in 2013[4]
Direction of trade Goods Services Investment stocks
EU to South Africa €24.5 billion €7.2 billion €41.8 billion
South Africa to EU €15.6 billion €4.5 billion €7.7 billion

See also


  1. South Africa, European External Action Service
  2. "European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Frequently asked questions on languages in Europe". Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  3. "DISCRIMINATION IN THE EU IN 2015", Special Eurobarometer, 437, European Union: European Commission, 2015, retrieved 15 October 2017 via GESIS
  4. Bilateral relations South Africa, European Commission