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Brussels, 7 December 2011

Statement by EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs on the budget proposals for EU external instruments from 2014-2020

Following the Commission's proposal for the next multi-annual EU budget in June, the Commission adopted today the proposals for its external instruments for the period 2014 to 2020. They have been prepared taking into account the new realities of the world, and the importance for the EU to maintain its role as a global player.

The objective of the proposals is to ensure that, as the world is changing so quickly, the EU is able to speak with one voice, to live up to its ambition in promoting democracy, peace, solidarity and poverty reduction at global level and in its immediate neighbourhood. In the same time, these financial instruments will be used to help safeguard global public goods and address common challenges such as climate change, organised crimes or terrorism.

The package includes legislative proposals for 9 geographic and thematic instruments for an amount of €96 billion over the period of 2014-2020.

The proposals were prepared in close collaboration with High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton so that they reflect the new foreign policy priorities of the European Union. They confirm, as Cathy has said, that even in times of crisis Europe must look outwards and engage with the world, because our prosperity and our security depend on what happens beyond our borders, not least in our neighbourhood.

This package will enable the EU to stand by its international commitments and to our neighbourhood in transition. We will be able to engage with our partners in a much more comprehensive way, tailored to their and our needs.

We know how scarce the resources are, so we will remain flexible and reprioritise as required. Our focus will be on where the EU really adds value and the aim is to also maximise our impact by close coordination with the Member States and international financial institutions.

As far as Development aid is concerned, the proposed budget will enable EU budget to maintain its share to the EU overall commitment of allocating 0.7% of EU GNI to aid by 2015. In crisis times, this remains even more valid as we have a common and global interest to eradicate poverty and ensure a global sustainable growth.

This new budget will also aim at making our aid more effective, targeted, and flexible.

As I said last October, with the Agenda for change of EU development policy, I want EU aid to concentrate on fewer sectors with a stronger focus on democracy, human rights and on areas conducive to inclusive and sustainable growth.

In that respect, we have revised our key instruments to enable the Commission to implement this approach.

The Development cooperation instrument will include traditional geographic envelopes but also 3 horizontal programmes:

  • One for "global public goods and challenges", [where we will make sure that more than 25% of the funds are spent on climate and environment objectives and 20% on social inclusion and human development].

  • A programme to support civil society and local authorities

  • A new pan-African instrument.

I had also announced that the EU would focus its aid on the poorest countries where it as a higher impact. The proposal today confirms a shift in our relations with some emerging countries towards a partnership based on mutual interest rather than development cooperation. Countries such as China, India, Brazil, Argentina, which are either upper middle income countries or countries whose GDP represent more than 1% of the global GDP, are now able to ensure their own development and our aid does not have any longer a high impact on their development.

But let me be clear on this point: the EU will not disengage with these countries. We will cooperate with them via thematic or regional programmes, as well as through the newly created Partnership instrument. Our development budgets are tight, and we believe we need to concentrate the funds on countries most in need.

Let me mention the European Development Fund, which covers all African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. This instrument is not part of EU budget but will be negotiated in the framework of the Multiannual Financial Framework.

Finally, we have made these instruments more simple and more flexible, so that the EU is able to react in real time when crisis or unexpected events strike.

These proposals will now be sent to the European parliament and the Council and the adoption should take place in 2012. This will be crucial to secure the EU's position and influence in the world.

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