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Brussels, 2nd March 2006

Commission proposes concrete measures to deliver EU aid better and faster

In three communications approved today, the Commission proposes concrete measures to improve the effectiveness of EU development aid and external assistance. These proposals follow-up on the EU’s commitments in 2005 to scale-up aid substantially and to improve its impact and its speed of delivery, in order to meet the challenges of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The Commission proposes an action plan including joint programming of assistance with Member States and sees the Union on track to deliver on its financial commitments.

“With these proposals, we can deliver on our promises: to do more for development, and to do it better and faster. Allthough Development is and will remain a competence shared by the Community and the Member States this does not prevent us joining forces, harmonize our procedures and share the job. The EU is the world’s biggest aid donor but every single euro we spend will contribute more to the fight against poverty if we share this huge task in an intelligent and coordinated way, as we all promised last year in several international forums”, said Commissioner Michel.

Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said: “External assistance efficiency is a high priority in the Commission's agenda. Today, the Commission is paving the way for a better coordination, coherence and impact of the European aid worldwide. Speedy, streamlined assistance needs to become the rule. That is my aim for the coming years!”

The three communications approved today aim to improve the efficiency, coherence and impact of EU development aid. The Commission proposes an action plan with 9 time-bound actions to be implemented jointly by the Commission and Member States. Some actions, like the precise mapping of EU assistance through regional donor atlases, the support of local coordination processes and the development of a common framework for programming of assistance, may be launched immediately. Other, such as the proposed co-financing mechanism for EU funds, may be implemented within the next 4 years.

  • The Communication “Delivering more, faster and better” presents a concrete action plan. For each action, it deploys an operational working agenda for 2006-2007.
  • The Communication “Joint multi annual programming” represents one of the first concrete deliverables of the action plan. It proposes a joint EU framework for the programming of development aid in order to improve its effectiveness.
  • The Communication “Financing for Development and Aid Effectiveness” monitors the EU’s performance against its commitments, in terms of volume of aid and in terms of the effectiveness of its delivery. For the period 2003-2004, the communication states that the EU is collectively on track to deliver on its financial commitments. However, the individual performance of some Member States is still insufficient. The ability of the new Member States to meet their commitments is evaluated very positively.

In support of the three communications, the Commission has revised and updated the “EU Donor Atlas 2006”, mapping EU assistance globally. Additional volumes with a focus on a particular region will facilitate more specific analysis of EU donor cooperation in a regional context and facilitate the division of labour within the EU (“who does what where and with whom”). A first volume on Western Africa is already available.


In the light of limited progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa, the EU took the political lead in development policy in June 2005. The Union agreed an ambitious initiative for more aid to the developing world (0.56% of GNI by 2010 or an extra of approx. 20 billion EUR / year by 2010), for an increase of the efficiency of its aid through coordination and harmonisation between Member States and for a focus on Africa stating that the African continent should receive at least 50% of the aid increase.

In December 2005, the European Union agreed also to a revised Development Policy Statement, the “European Consensus”. It formulates, for the first time in EU’s history, common strategic objectives for development policy shared by the whole EU.

The communications approved today intend to deliver on the EU’s and OECD’s commitments of 2005 and follow logically from the “European Consensus”.
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