EU budget: Making the EU fit for its role as strong global actor - EU monitor

EU monitor
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
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Source: European Commission (EC), published on Thursday, June 14 2018.

Commission proposes to increase the external action budget and make it much more flexible and effective to address today's global challenges

For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the European Commission proposed today to increase the external action budget to 123 billion, to significantly simplify its structure, and make it much more flexible and effective to address today's global challenges.

The external action budget will be the EU's main tool to support its partner countries in their political and economic transformations towards sustainable development, stability, consolidation of democracy, socio-economic development and the eradication of poverty. It will also allow the EU to continue to provide humanitarian assistance all over the world. As regards the EU's neighbourhood, this will also be the tool to help the neighbourhood countries in their economic approximation to the EU's Single Market.

Regarding the key elements of the new external budget proposal, the funding will increase from 94.5 billion in the period 2014-2020 to 123 billion from 2021-2027, up by 30%. The Commission proposes to reduce the number of instruments, as well as to integrate the European Development Fund into the EU budget. This will allow for more coherence and a clearer focus on political objectives and engagements with partners, in line with the EU's values and priorities.

The new budget structure will allow the use and re-use of unutilised funds on a multi-annual basis. This will enable the EU to better respond to changing circumstances in line with its priorities of eradicating poverty, promoting sustainable development, prosperity, peace and stability.

For EU external action the Commission proposes a new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) with 89.2 billion. This new streamlined instrument will consist of three pillars:

  • A geographic pillar, with particular focus on the Neighbourhood area and Sub-Saharan Africa, will be considerably increased to jointly address global challenges such as human development including gender equality, climate change, environmental protection, migration and food security;
  • A thematic pillar which will complement the geographic pillar through support for human rights and democracy, civil society, stability and peace inasmuch as they have to be addressed at global level, as well as other global challenges that would not be covered under the geographic pillar;
  • A rapid response pillar which will allow the EU to swiftly respond to crises, as well as to support conflict prevention, strengthen the resilience of states, societies, communities and individuals, the linking of humanitarian aid and development action, as well as early action to address other foreign policy objectives.

The Commission also proposes a new European Instrument for Nuclear Safety: With 300 million, this will complement the activities under the new streamlined instrument on the basis of the Euratom Treaty.

More instruments proposed by the Commission:

  • An Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III): 14.5 billion will offer increased support to EU candidate countries and potential candidates on their path towards fulfilling the EU accession criteria through deep and comprehensive reforms.
  • The humanitarian aid instrument: 11 billion will allow for EU assistance on a needs-basis in order to save and preserve lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering and safeguard the integrity and dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.
  • The Common Foreign and Security budget, with 3 billion. This funding will be used to respond to external conflicts and crises, to build the capacity of partner countries and protect the EU and its citizens.
  • Cooperation with overseas countries and territories including Greenland, with 500 million. This funding will support and strengthen the economic, political and cultural ties between the EU and the 13 overseas countries and territories linked to the EU Member States.
  • The remaining amount of approximately 4.5 billion consists of the budgetary margin (3.2 billion) and other budgetary items, such as macro-financial assistance grants, evaluation and audit measures or work related to international organisations and decentralised agencies.
  • The Commission proposal includes an investment framework for external action with an increased fire-power of up to 60 billion. Building on the successful experience of the EU's External Investment Plan, it will help to raise and leverage additional financial resources for sustainable development from the private sector.
  • In addition, and outside the EU budget, the High Representative, with the support of the Commission, is proposing to establish a European Peace Facility, with 10.5 billion. The European Peace Facility will fund operational actions under the Common Foreign and Security Policy that have military or defence implications, and therefore cannot be financed under the EU's budget. It will strengthen the Union's ability to preserve peace, prevent conflicts and strengthen international security, in line with the Treaty on European Union and the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.

Related links

MEMO

Legal texts and factsheets on the Neighbourhood and the World

European Peace Facility


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Relevant EU dossiers