As of 1 May 2004, Cyprus is a full member state of the European Union, hence it keeps close political, cultural and economic relations with the rest of the member states.
Formal relations with the EU date back to 1972 when Cyprus and the EEC signed an Association Agreement, which was basically a trade agreement. In 1987, a Customs Union Agreement was signed between Cyprus and the EU. The relations of Cyprus and the EU entered into a new dimension with the application of Cyprus for full membership to the Union in July 1990. Accession negotiations began in 1998 and were successfully concluded at the end of 2002. On 16 April 2003, Cyprus singed, along with the other nine acceding countries, the Treaty of Accession to the European Union, paving the way towards full EU membership on 1 May 2004.
The EU constitutes Cyprus' main trading partner absorbing more than 55% of its domestic exports and supplying around 50% of the total imports to Cyprus. Furthermore, around 70% of tourists visiting the island originate from EU member states.
In addition, Cyprus maintains close political and trading ties with the countries of the Middle East region, both the Arab world and Israel, as well as with the former socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. In that sense, as an EU member state Cyprus will become a bridge connecting the United Europe and the Middle East.