Syria and the EU have negotiated an association agreement. However, the signing of the ASSOCIATION agreement ENTRE the EU and Syria has been suspended by the EU due to the internal situation in Syria and, over time, the legal texts of the agreement have become obsolete. Continued internal repression in Syria has also led to restrictive measures on the part of the EU and has a considerable impact on bilateral trade. Israel had called the agreement “compassionate” before it was signed. Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said he was “critical” to intensify international pressure and isolate Syria and Iran. He also called on Europe to “strengthen the international front against terrorism.” Before the war, the EU was Syria`s largest trading partner, with 3.6 billion euros in EU merchandise exports to Syria and Syrian exports to the EU. Total trade amounted to EUR 7.18 billion in 2010 and the EU is Syria`s largest trading partner (Syria being the 50th largest in the EU), with 22.5% of trade.  Bilateral trade has contracted since the war to reach EUR 1.45 billion in 2013, representing a 91% decrease in exports from Syria and a 61% decrease in EU exports compared to 2011.  In 1977, the EU and Syria signed a cooperation agreement that governs relations and serves as the basis for EU-EU relations.  Other bilateral agreements between the EU and Syria were concluded in 2004 and 2008.  Syria has also joined the European Union for the Mediterranean (and previously the Barcelona Process) and the European Neighbourhood Policy, but does not fully benefit from the EU-Syria Association Agreement signed in 2009 and was suspended from the Union for the Mediterranean in 2011.  After the Syrian civil war in the spring of 2011 and the resulting escalation of violence and human rights violations, the EU suspended bilateral cooperation with the Syrian government and froze the draft association agreement. Since then, the EU has suspended the participation of the Syrian authorities in its regional programmes.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has suspended all lending and technical assistance. The EU has imposed targeted sanctions, including an arms embargo, an asset freeze and travel ban for government members, as well as an oil embargo. Syria then suspended its membership and participation in the Union for the Mediterranean. The EU delegation in Syria remained open until December 2012.  In December 2012, the EU accepted the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as a “legitimate representative” of the Syrian people.  After seven years of negotiations, the EU has signed a comprehensive association agreement on political and economic cooperation with Syria. Bilateral relations between the EU and Syria are governed by the cooperation agreement signed in 1977, but they are currently exposed to trade in crude oil, petroleum products, gold, precious metals and diamonds. The Syrian Arab Republic and the European Union (EU) have signed two agreements between them. However, due to the Syrian government`s crackdown on its opposition, the EU is imposing an embargo on Syria.  Since 2011, the EU has supported the Syrian National Opposition Council and has called for the resignation of the current government.  Since 2012, it has recognized the opposition as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.  The `Association Agreement`, which is now submitted to the Council and then ratified by the parliaments of the Member States, complements the network of EU association agreements with all partners identified in the Barcelona process.