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European Commission


Brussels, 11 December 2013

Approval of the financing instruments for EU external action by the European Parliament

Joint Statement by Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle and Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs

We are highly pleased that the European Parliament has just approved the legislative package on the EU's external instruments. It is a beneficial package that will enable the EU to continue to be a global player and promote its interests and values. In a globalised world it is more necessary than ever that we join forces and speak with one strong voice. By acting jointly, the EU can weigh in as a single and more powerful donor on a range of issues where national action offers less impact and less scope.

The instruments adopted today allow us to pursue cooperation with our external partners on four policy priorities: enlargement, neighbourhood, cooperation with strategic partners and development cooperation. The EU now has the tools at hand to defend key EU interests and pursue more relevant relations with industrialised and so-called “graduated” countries, addressing major global challenges. And we will be able to provide effective support to peace and stability across the world.

Democracy, peace, solidarity, stability and poverty reduction, as well as safeguarding global public goods, will be at the heart of external action for the next seven years. A central element of this package is to keep striving for a world without poverty, with our partner countries in the driving seat. In the next framework, the EU must seek to target its external resources where they are needed most and where they can provide better results. EU aid will therefore be focused on a limited number of sectors in each country (the most strategic and growth-oriented ones), and will reduce or stop its bilateral funding to those economies capable of financing their own development. Innovative forms of financing such as blending (mixing grants and loans to leverage investments) will be used. Simplified rules and procedures for EU assistance will help improve delivery and cut red-tape.

In our EU Neighbourhood, we will efficiently accompany sector reforms and keep up the efforts of approximation in the East, and boost democratisation and economic and social development in the South. We will focus support to our neighbours even more on our political and policy agenda. It will allow for more differentiation and for giving incentives for best performers who genuinely implement deep and sustainable democracy, including respect for human rights, and agreed reform objectives.

Today's agreement also demonstrates the Union's unaltered commitment to the enlargement process and the aspirant countries. The funding will support key reforms in areas such as rule of law, economic governance, competitiveness and socio-economic development, helping to modernise the countries preparing for EU membership. This transformative power of enlargement policy, through increased security, stability and prosperity, brings important benefits to citizens both in the aspirant countries and in the EU.

Overall, delivery on our policies will be simpler and more coherent. Finally, we particularly welcome the fact that there will be more democratic debate on EU external assistance in the future, through a stronger involvement of the European Parliament.

The package we have agreed on therefore is a good one. Because it is about one of the core values of the EU: solidarity. But it is also a matter of mutual interest, because what happens outside of the EU often directly affects the prosperity and security of EU citizens.

For more information:

MEMO/13/1134: The Multiannual Financial Framework: The External Action Financing Instruments.

IP/13/1236: EU enhances its comprehensive approach to external conflicts and crises.

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