LUXEMBOURG (AP) _ The European Economic Community on has formally approved a settlement of a long-running dispute with the United States over citrus fruit trade, officials said.

The administration of President Ronald Reagan already had okayed the settlement, they said Monday.

The EEC overcame initial objections by Spain, Greece and Italy that had caused a two-month delay in signing the accord, which was worked out by senior U.S. and EEC trade officials last August.

Final approval was given in the opening session of the EEC's governing Council of Ministers meeting, attended by foreign ministers from the 12 member countries, said Barney Smith, a British government spokesman.

The settlement calls for the EEC to ease restraints on imports of American citrus products, mainly oranges, grapefruits, lemons and almonds. In exchange, the United States is to relax restrictions on imports of cheese, olives, olive oil and capers from EEC nations.

The accord brings to an end a 16-year-old dispute that in 1985 triggered a series of retaliatory trade restrictions by both the EEC and the United States.

The dispute stemmed from U.S. claims that the EEC's preferential import agreements with 11 Mediterranean citrus fruit exporters is in violation of international trade rules. The EEC has denied the charge, saying the agreements are part of its development policy for the Mediterranean region.