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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
News article2 June 2020Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Questions and answers: the EU budget for external action in the next Multiannual Financial Framework

Together with the new European Recovery Instrument (‘Next Generation EU'), the European Commission is proposing a targeted amendment to its initial proposal for the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) adopted...

Next generation EU

What did the Commission propose?

Together with the new European Recovery Instrument (‘Next Generation EU'), the European Commission is proposing a targeted amendment to its initial proposal for the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) adopted in 2018. The new proposal reinforces the EU's capacity to support partners – in particular in the Western Balkans, the EU's wider Neighbourhood and Sub-Saharan Africa – in their efforts to fight and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in cooperation with partners such as international financial institutions, the United Nations and the World Health Organization. The External Action Guarantee and the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus will be the key instruments in this regard.

The Commission proposes a budget of €118.2 billion for external action in 2018 prices (€132.6 billion in current prices) in the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021 to 2027, including €15.5 billion under Next Generation EU. This represents an additional €16.5 billion in comparison to the proposal of the President of the European Council of February 2020.

The instruments for EU external action proposed in the 2018 MFF proposal are maintained, namely a Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, complemented by a European Instrument for Nuclear Safety; an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance; a humanitarian aid instrument; a Common Foreign and Security Policy budget; and an instrument for cooperation with Overseas Countries and Territories and Greenland. In addition, and outside the EU budget, the High Representative, with support of the Commission, proposed to establish a European Peace Facility.

The Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), the main instrument for EU cooperation and development with partner countries, will be increased to €86 billion in 2018 prices (€96.4 billion in current prices), of which €10.5 billion come from the Next Generation EU. €12.9 billion will be maintained for Pre-accession assistance (€14.5 billion in current prices) and humanitarian aid will be increased to €14.8 billion (€16.5 billion in current prices), of which €5 billion from Next Generation EU. €2.4 billion will be provided for Common Foreign and Security Policy (€2.7 billion in current prices)

The new proposal for NDICI increases the overall amount to €96.4 billion in current prices (€86 billion in 2018 prices), of which €85 billion in current prices (€75.5 billion in 2018 prices) will be financed within the MFF ceilings and €11.4 billion in current prices (€10.5 billion in 2018 prices) by Next Generation EU. The latter amount will be exclusively used to top up the provisioning of the External Action Guarantee to fight the negative consequences of COVID-19, which will allow increasing the maximum volume of this Guarantee from the initially proposed €60 billion to €130 billion. All other key elements, such as objectives, principles, areas of cooperation, implementation, remain unchanged.

Overall, the new MFF proposal increases the NDICI funds by over 8% compared to the proposal of 2018, more than doubling the firepower of the External Action Guarantee, a powerful implementing tool aiming at leveraging funds from the private and public sector and promote investment in partner countries and thus multiplying the effect of the EU assistance.

In the same package, the Commission proposes to amend Regulation (EU) 2017/1601 establishing the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), the EFSD Guarantee and the EFSD Guarantee Fund. The amendment would increase by slightly more than €1 billion the provisioning of the EFSD Guarantee (currently it was provisioned by €750 million coming from the EU budget and the European Development Fund (EDF)). Since this guarantee is provisioned at 50%, the volume of the EFSD Guarantee would increase from €1.5 billion to €3.6billion. In addition, it proposes to expand the geographic scope of the EFSD Guarantee, currently only applicable to the Neighbourhood and Sub-Saharan Africa, to the Western Balkans as well. To allow a smooth implementation, the amending Regulation also extends the implementing period by one year, from 31 December 2020 to 31 December 2021. The EFSD will be replaced by the EFSD+ with the NDICI.

How will the extra €16.5 billion for external action be used?

The additional amount is composed of the €10.5 billion for NDICI and €5 billion for humanitarian aid, in both cases from the Next Generation EU, in the next budget and €1 billion for the European Fund for Sustainable Development from the current EU budget, all in 2018 prices

How much is the top up for the External guarantee, underpinned by the Next Generation EU, what will it finance and will it cover the Western Balkans too?

The additional amount of €10.5 billion would raise the ceiling of the External Action Guarantee from €60 billion to €130 billion in current prices, It will cover guarantees to partly reduce the risk of loans provided by European and international financial institutions to governments, administrations and businesses, so that they can recover swiftly and survive the current crisis and its aftermath. It will also cover Macro-Financial Assistance loans to support partner countries' balance of payments and thereby provide policy space to counter the economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis. The EU guaranteewill cover all partner countries where the EU provides development and other assistance measures, with a particular attention to our neighbours and, within those, to the Western Balkans region, as well as to Africa.

What is the External Action Guarantee and why is it an appropriate tool to fight the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic?

As part of the NDICI presented in 2018, the Commission proposed the establishment of the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (‘EFSD+'), the financing arm of a reinforced External Investment Plan, which is supported by an External Action Guarantee, as a powerful implementing tool for promoting investments and economic stability.

The External Action Guarantee will allow the EU to reduce the risk forpublic and private investment operations in partner countries covered by the NDICI and by the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance III (under the EFSD+), and to support those countries experiencing a balance of payments crisis (with macro-financial assistance).

The Commission considers that this leveraging tool is appropriate to address the negative consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, in particular for the promotion of investments to reinforce the sanitary systems and the socio-economic recovery of partner countries, including by ensuring their macro-economic stability.

What is the difference between the EFSD+ and the External Action guarantee?

The External Action Guarantee covers not only the guarantees issued under the EFSD+ but also Macro-Financial Assistance loans to Governments, which are not part of the EFSD+, because they are a very specific instrument targeted at providing financial support to a country's balance sheet.

The EFSD+ is a very comprehensive instrument that includes not only guarantees but also grants provided through blending –a mix of EU grants with bank loans–, technical assistance to help improve the quality of projects and the implementation of reforms, and several other types of support tools that can be used to support the development of partner countries. The EFSD+ goes beyond the guarantees which are covered by the External Action Guarantee.

How will the new investment framework work?

The new investment framework, the EFSD+, will function in a similar way to the one established under the current EFSD. Licensed (pillar-assessed) European and International Financial Institutions will submit programme requests to the Commission, asking for a guarantee support for their proposed loan and equity portfolios, so that they can finance projects that otherwise would be too risky for them to finance. The Commission will choose the ones that offer the best development impact and contribute most to the EU policy objectives. These loan and equity portfolios can be in support of the public sector and the private sector. The targeted priority areas of economic activity will be indicated by the Commission. In relation to the Next Generation EU, given the widespread impact of the crisis, the support to the recovery will have to cover a large number of economic sectors.

Why is the Commission proposing to amend the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), the EFSD Guarantee and the EFSD Guarantee Fund?

Most of the support announced by the Commission on 27 May will be channelled through instruments that are foreseen to enter into force with the new MFF, in 2021. However, with the crisis at our doorstep today, a large number of businesses and public administrations already fighting to keep afloat and keep their activity running, cannot wait until 2021. In order to bridge that gap, the Commission proposed a reinforcement of existing instruments and tools, so that support can arrive immediately to those who need it today, while waiting for the larger instruments, with a reinforced firepower, to become available in 2021. The EFSD, a guarantee fund whose financing capacity will more than double with this proposal, is one of the tools at our disposal to focus on the most pressing needs already in 2020. Given that it is the only budgetary guarantee instrument that exists today and covers only the Neighbourhood and Africa, the Commission decided to propose to extend its scope to the Western Balkan region, so that our closest neighbours can also benefit from this immediate and much needed support.

How much is the increase for IPA III?

The Commission did not adopt a revised proposal for the IPA III Regulation. The Recovery package maintains the IPA III proposal of June2018. The Commission continues to propose €12.9 billion (in 2018 prices) or €14.5 billion (in current prices), a significant increase compared to the current MFF amounts, which stand at €12.8 billion in current prices.

Why did IPA III not receive Next Generation funds?

The Commission proposes to reinforce the capacity of the External Action Guarantee, which is hosted in the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, but additional funds will also support IPA III beneficiaries. Moreover, as explained above, the Commission proposes to keep the ambitious budget for IPA III in line with its initial MFF proposal tabled in 2018.

Is Turkey still eligible for funding under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance?

Yes, Turkey is a beneficiary of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance. Under the Commission proposal for the IPA III Regulation, there would not be specific country envelopes for any of the beneficiaries. If this proposal is retained in the negotiations, the Commission will have to assess project proposals in light of a number of conditions, in particular their contribution to meeting accession criteria, in particular, in the areas of rule of law, fundamental rights, economic governance and public administration reforms.

What is the new Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA III)?

The Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA III) will be anchored in the EU policy towards the Western Balkans in particular in the context of the EU enlargement policy. It will contribute to the transformation process in the Western Balkans, including robust economic reform programmes and to enhance the focus on reforms necessary for future membership.

At the same time, IPA III will be flexible enough to adapt to the evolving situation in Turkey and reflect developments in EU-Turkey relations. The new instrument will benefit from more steer from the Union, as its programming is based on priorities rather than country envelopes. This allows to reward performance and progress towards key priorities and increased flexibility to respond to the evolving needs of the partners in their path towards accession.

Given the fact that the EU is one of the region most affected by the COVID-19, should we not concentrate all assistance in Member States?

The bulk of the Recovery Package will be used within the EU. However, at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and its rapid expansion worldwide, the EU is not isolated from the rest of the world. We are inter-connected with our key partners, in both sanitary and socioeconomic terms. We need to work together. Helping them also helps the EU to overcome this crisis.

The COVID-19 crisis is having a major impact on societies around the globe, starting with health systems, and moving to severe global social and economic consequences. The response strategy of the Union should be comprehensive, coherent and integrated, tackling both the public health and the socio-economic challenges globally. The least developed countries are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, given their weak, non-resilient health systems and complex socio-economic and governance challenges. Likewise, we need more than ever to show our solidarity to our close partners in the Neighbourhood and in the Western Balkans.

Given that COVID-19 will have a major impact on the economic and macroeconomic systems in our partner countries, governments will be challenged to sustain macro-economic stability and maintain fiscal space to protect the most vulnerable, their companies, their workers, and continue providing basic social services.

Why was the restructuring of the external action financial instruments proposed in 2018?

Global challenges, which need to be tackled by external action, have increased in recent years. Moreover, they have become more complex, multidimensional, and rapidly evolving as the COVID-19 crisis has shown. To effectively address them, the European Union needs to strengthen its external action with efficient and flexible instruments. Having multiple instruments, with multiple sets of priorities, management structures and reporting procedures is not an effective approach. There is a need to tear down artificial boundaries between instruments, to ensure the right mix of short-, medium- and long-term policies for each region and each priority.

The new broad instrument, with a coherent set of principles, will allow the EU to pursue and achieve its policy objectives and overcome gaps, overlaps and inconsistencies that exist between today's multitude of geographic and thematic instruments. More flexibility will enable the EU to react swiftly to evolving needs and priorities, and a simplified management structure will reduce the administrative burden for EU institutions, Member States and implementing partners.

In the funding architecture for the EU's external action (MFF 2021-2027) proposed in May 2018, the Commission proposed to simplify its structure by tearing down artificial barriers between instruments. The new broad Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) would integrate the following instruments from the previous MFF:

  • European Development Fund (EDF) – currently outside the budget
  • European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI)
  • Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI)
  • European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)
  • Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP)
  • Partnership instrument for cooperation with third countries (PI)
  • Guarantee Fund for External Actions

This broad instrument will be complemented by the:

  • Instrument for Pre-accession assistance (IPA)
  • Humanitarian aid
  • Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
  • Overseas countries and territories (OCTs) incl. Greenland
  • European Instrument for Nuclear Safety (EINS)

The EU's external action funding under the current Multiannual Financial Framework is much more fragmented

Will the simplified structure mean less accountability? Will the inclusion of the European Development Fund in the MFF give the European Parliament a bigger say?

Simplification or increased flexibility does not mean that there will be less scrutiny or accountability. On the contrary, by proposing to integrate the European Development Fund into the EU budget, the scrutiny powers of the European Parliament will be reinforced. Unlike the current arrangements, the same Parliamentary procedures and scrutiny would apply across all development cooperation, so this institution may exert its legislative, budgetary and control powers as regards EU assistance to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. This would help strengthen the public legitimacy and political visibility of the EU's external assistance as a whole.

Furthermore, it will be essential to create a governance system that ensures political control and democratic scrutiny, while also ensuring efficiency and flexibility. The European Parliament will play its essential role as a co-legislator in the adoption of this governance structure.

How will the new instrument be more flexible?

It will allow for using and re-using unutilised funds on a multi-annual basis, mobilise funding from the rapid response pillar for situations of crisis or emergency. Thanks to the flexibility cushion with unallocated funds the EU will be able to address new needs, unforeseen challenges and emerging priorities.

Will the increased flexibility come at the cost of predictability for partner countries?

No. The majority of the funds from NDICI will go to geographic programmes. The geographic programming will continue to be based on country needs and other transparent criteria and respect principles of development effectiveness, including country ownership. Increased flexibility will come from access to the emerging challenges and priorities cushion to face unexpected events, which are by nature non-predictable and therefore non-programmable.

Will aone-size-fits-all approach mean that some countries will lose out?

One broad instrument does not mean a one-size-fits-all approach, and it does not mean less funding for certain regions or themes. On the contrary, the Commission's proposal of 2018 takes into account the strategic priorities of the EU, namely the European Neighbourhood, Africa, and countries that are most in need, as well as challenges regarding security, migration, climate change and human rights. The instrument earmarks funding dedicated to each region and policy area to reflect the EU's political priorities.

How will you make sure that additional funds for the NDICI coming from the Next Generation EUgo to the partner countries most in need?

In compliance with the “policy first” principle, one of the most important novelties of the NDICI is that the use of EU budgetary guarantees will be subject to the programming process. This means that the EU will discuss with partner countries and other stakeholders their investment needs, gaps, and priorities so EU funds will be used where they are most needed. In addition, the NDICI itself indicates that special attention will be paid to “countries identified as experiencing fragility or conflict, Least Developed Countries and highly indebted poor countries”.

Will traditional priorities for development cooperation to meet SGDs change?

The policy framework for the EU's development cooperation has been laid out in the European Consensus on Development, which sets the political vision underlying the financial proposals for the future MFF. The core objective of this vision remains the eradication of poverty and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN's 2030 Agenda and its determination to leave no one behind. In that vein, the EU will continue to tackle challenges related to human development, climate change, migration and mobility, as well as promote good governance, democracy and human rights.

The countries most in need, particularly least developed countries, low income countries, fragile or crisis-stricken countries will be given particular priority. The NDICI proposal maintains a horizontal spending target of 20% for human development and social inclusion, including gender equality and women's empowerment. At least 92% of the funding in NDICI shall fulfil the requirements of the OECD Development Assistance Committee and hence count as Official Development Assistance. The countries most in need, particularly least developed countries, low income countries, fragile or crisis-struck countries will be given particular priority. The EU will continue to work towards achieving the target of investing 0.7% of its collective Gross National Income in official development assistance by 2030, and 0.2% to least developed countries. The NDICI instrument will significantly support EU Member States to deliver on this important political commitment.

With the reinforcement of the External Action Guarantee and its multiplying effect following the Recovery package proposal of May 2020, it is expected that the impact of the NDICI will be even deeper, in particular as regards the fight against the COVID-19 crisis.

Is this proposal related to the Global Recovery Initiative announced by President von der Leyen in the UN?

The President of the European Commission proposed a Global Recovery Initiative that links investments and debt relief to the SDGs. These are now more important than ever to maintain in the context of COVID-19 that risks being a major setback for their attainment. Team Europe has already mobilised a €23 billion package to support our partners around the world to address the immediate health emergency, strengthen health systems and mitigate the socio-economic impact. The green and digital transition and the strengthening of the resilience should be at the heart of their recovery, in line with the principle ‘Build Back Better'.

NDICI will support not only the attainment of the SDGs, but will also help bring investments, liquidity and macro-financial assistance to partner countries, backed by the new External Action Guarantee.

It will also allow for budget support to our partners, helping to create fiscal space for highly indebted countries.

Will development assistance be used for other purposes, such as migration?

The new framework should enable the Union to respond to the challenges, needs and opportunities in the area of migration, in complementarity with the Union's migration policy. To contribute to that end, 10% of its financial envelope is expected to be dedicated to addressing the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement and to supporting migration management and governance including the protection of refugees and migrants' rights.

Dedicating funds to support to fight the root causes of irregular migration and assisting populations, countries and regions and promoting the international dimension of Union's policies cannot be perceived as misusing development funds, on the contrary. Partner countries can reap the benefits of well-managed and regular migration. EU cooperation aims at ensuring access to international protection, addressing the root causes of irregular migration, enhancing border management and pursuing efforts in the fight against irregular migration, trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling. In parallel, the EU works with its partners on returns, readmission and reintegration where relevant, on the basis of mutual accountability and full respect of humanitarian and human rights obligations. Therefore, third countries' effective cooperation with the Union in this area should be an integral element of the EU development assistance.

Tackling the migration challenge and crises is considered to contribute positively to development and is accounted for as Official Development Aid, according to the criteria of OECD. In the same vein, the 92% of the NDICI should respect the OECD criteria and count as ODA which will ensure that only a limited amount of funds will not have a development objective and purpose over the 7-year period.

What happened to the European Peace Facility?

The proposal by the High Representative with the support of the Commission for an off-budget European Peace Facility (EPF) to finance all Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) external action with military or defence implications remains unchanged. It is currently discussed by Member States in the Council, with a budget of up to €8 billion in 2018 prices in the latest proposal by the President of the European Council, for a period of seven years, coinciding with the next MFF 2021-2027.

The EPF proposal would enhance the scope of common costs for military Common Security and Defence Policy missions and operations, to assist partners' military peace support operations on a global scale and to broaden actions with a military or defence nature, such as capacity building activities for military actors, which can be undertaken under the CFSP. You can find more information on the EPF on the Questions & Answers.

What impact will the new financial architecture have on Africa?

Africa is and will remain one of the main priorities of the Union, as our prosperity and security in Europe are closely interlinked with that of Africa. The increased resources for Africa proposed under the NDICI proposal will allow for supporting development, inclusive economic growth, as well as African-led initiatives in the field of peace and security. In addition, the EU will aim to reinforce its continent-to-continent cooperation with the African Union.

The large majority of least developed countries are in Africa. The EU has committed to dedicate 20% of its official development assistance to human development and social inclusion, including gender equality and women's empowerment. It further continues to work towards achieving the target of investing 0.7% of its collective GDP in official development assistance, and 0.2% to least developed countries.

Moreover, the integration of the European Development Fund into the budget and the creation of a single instrument will make it easier to finance policy priorities covering both North African and Sub Saharan African countries.

What impact will the new financial architecture have on EU-ACP relations?

The Commission has proposed to finance the cooperation with the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group of states (ACP) from the EU budget. At present, it is financed from the extra-budgetary European Development Fund. The new external action budget will support the implementation of a modernised association agreement with ACP countries, and allow developing further strong alliances on key global challenges. The integration of the cooperation with the ACP into the EU budget will increase transparency and accountability and will strengthen the role of the EP.

How will funds for individual countries be allocated?

Allocations to individual countries, notably under the geographic pillar, will be programmed in a tailor-made and specific approach. They will take into account the needs and priorities of the countries in question. The process will be guided by the principle of ownership and dialogue between the European Union, its Member States and the partner countries concerned, including national and local authorities. It will also involve civil society, national and local parliaments as well as other stakeholders.

The allocations will come in the form of multiannual indicative programmes, which will be based on results and internationally agreed targets, in particular those set out for the Sustainable Development Goals. The European Parliament and the Council, together with Member States, are involved in the process of adoption of these programmes.

In development cooperation, the Commission has developed a transparent methodology based on quantitative as well as qualitative indicators. It takes into account country-specific situations and evolutions in their political and security situations. It also looks at partner countries' commitments and performance regarding political reforms, economic and social development, as well as the partner countries' absorption capacity. The countries most in need, in particular least developed countries or countries in fragile situations will be given priority. To promote coherence and effectiveness of EU policies, joint programming by the EU and its Member States will be the preferred approach for country programming, while leaving the possibility for other donors to join where relevant.

For the Neighbourhood countries, the relevant association agendas, partnership priorities and other equivalent jointly agreed documents are key points of reference for setting the priorities for EU support to neighbourhood countries.

For the new Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, the programming framework will be prepared for each priority on the basis of overall country needs to reach the jointly agreed objectives. The magnitude of funding available for each priority will be fully transparent. Partners will be invited to respond with strategies on how they intend to meet the objectives for each policy priority, thus increasing their ownership. Funding will then be distributed on the basis of a "fair share" principle and transparent criteria such as project/programme maturity, expected impact and progress on accession criteria, rule of law, fundamental rights and economic governance.

Will the External Investment Plan continue in the new MFF and what will be the impact of the Recovery Package adopted in May 2020?

The Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument proposed in 2018 includes an investment framework for external action. It expands the previous External Investment Plan to raise additional financial resources for sustainable development from the private sector, to foster sustainable and inclusive economic development. It will support investments in partner countries to promote decent job creation, strengthen public and private infrastructure, foster renewable energy and sustainable agriculture and support digital economy. Building on the successful experience of the External Investment Plan, the new investment framework will consist of the European Fund for Sustainable Investment (EFSD+) and the External ActionGuarantee.

The EFSD+ will ensure world-wide coverage for blending, guarantees and other financial operations streamlining the current architecture. After the Recovery Package adopted in May 2020, the External Action Guarantee will have a capacity of €130 billion (compared to the €60 billion proposed in 2018)to guarantee the EFSD+ operations, as well as macro-financial assistance and loans to third countries. Together with the private sector and thanks to the leverage effect, this may mobilise more than half a trillion euro in investments for 2021-2027. The increase of the funding of the Guarantee by €11.4 billion in current prices (€10.5 bilion in 2018 prices)thanks to the contributions from the Next Generation EU will be used to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Particular attention will be paid to the EU Neighbourhood, the Western Balkans and Africa as well as countries experiencing fragility or conflict, least developed countries and highly indebted poor countries, or regions with critical infrastructure and connectivity needs.

How will the guarantees and investment work? How will the Commission manage these flows?

The EU guarantees provided under the External Action Guarantee will allow to partially cover the risk of investment operations made by the private and public sector in partner countries under the EFSD+. The Commission will manage these flows with the cooperation of implementing partners such as the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European development financial institutions and other international financial institutions. Member States and EU institutions are closely involved in the investment governance under the NDICI.

The External Action Guarantee will also allow for Macro-financial assistance to partner countries experiencing a balance of payments crisis, which is managed by the Commission. The European Parliament and the Council are fully involved in the adoption of this type of operations.

How could such an instrument guarantee that the specificities of the Neighbourhood policy would be preserved?

The instrument includes a chapter dedicated to the Neighbourhood region, which contains specific provisions applicable to Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood only. These specificities and key principles are maintained and reinforced, notably the performance-based approach ('more for more'), the differentiation approach, thus providing incentives for jointly-agreed political and economic reforms. Cross-border cooperation between EU Member States and partner countries, both in the Eastern and in the Southern Neighbourhood, will also be continued in view of the very positive results so far achieved.

Why not a separate instrument?

The Neighbourhood policy remains a key priority for the Commission. There is no need for a separate instrument to demonstrate this. It is at the core of the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument. The instrument offers much needed flexibility and coherence, while preserving the core specificities of the special partnership with the EU's neighbours. This signals our long-term commitment to our partners, which attaches a lot of importance to their special relations with the EU.

How will the EU monitor and evaluate the implementation of its external action spending?

In line with its commitment to focus on results and effectiveness, the Commission will regularly monitor its actions and review progress made. This monitoring and evaluation system involves EU staff, as well as implementing partners and external expertise. The effectiveness, efficiency, EU-added value and coherence with other EU policies will be evaluated based on relevant and concrete results achieved: from a rule of law score, the number of children immunised from diseases with EU support, over the amount of greenhouse gas emissions reduced, to political stability and absence of violence indicators. Lessons learned will help to identify any potential to further improve EU policies and their results, and to help maximise their impact.

The evaluations will be communicated to the European Parliament and to the Council, as well as feed into relevant decision-making processes.

How will you ensure that funding will not be misused, e.g. to fund corrupt governments?

All EU funding is strictly monitored and partners that receive funding are obliged to follow strict guidelines to ensure it is well spent.

To ensure that EU funding reaches those most in need, the EU has put in place and will continue to draw on a solid system of compliance controls, with significant ex-ante as well as ex-ante checks by both external auditors and Commission staff. This control system consists of preventive, detective as well as corrective measures.

Failure to respect the EU's high standards can be met with the suspension and recovery of funds.

Will there be money if new Member States join during the MFF?

The rule in the long-term budget is that for new accessions to the European Union, the Multi-Annual Financial Framework shall be revised to take account of the expenditure requirements resulting from an accession of a new Member State. To help partner countries to reach that stage, the pre-accession assistance has increased considerably, up to €14.5 billion in current prices (from €12.8 billion) in line with the priorities. There will be more funds available for the Western Balkans than in the past MFF, and preparations for new accessions will be made in good time.

Is the European Nuclear Safety part of the broad Instrument for Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument?

Nuclear safety is an important part of the EU external action, and the Instrument for Nuclear Safety proposed in 2018 will be closely linked and complement the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). However, because some nuclear activities are in the competence of the Euratom Treaty (notably its Article 203), they are not compatible with the ordinary legislative procedure of the NDICI. Therefore, while the Instrument for Nuclear Safety and Cooperation (INSC) has to be a separate instrument with a separate legal basis, it will seamlessly complement the broad NDICI instrument.

For more information:

Legal texts related to the new MFF proposal

Factsheet on the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)

Questions and Answers on the European Peace Facility