The term ‘European Community external cooperation’ refers to that portion of European Union aid that is managed by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, as distinct from the bilateral aid programmes of the individual Member States. It comprises all concessional public flows to developing countries (Official Development Assistance) and to the transitional economies of Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States (Official Aid).

‘European Community aid’ has existed since the European Economic Community was established in 1957. All six original Member States accepted that measures to develop internal economic integration should be reinforced by a mechanism – initially the European Development Fund (EDF) – for pooling resources for external assistance, to be managed by the European Commission, while retaining their nationally-managed aid programmes. This process of pooling resources has now developed to a point where the European Community’s external cooperation programme (both to developing countries and transitional economies) is among the five leading donor programmes in its own right. Aid from the European Union, taking into account both aid from the Member States individually and that portion managed by the European Commission, now accounts for 55% of total world aid.

Europe’s external cooperation policies have always been broad and multifaceted, going well beyond just the supply of financial aid. External trading relationships in coal, steel, agriculture and manufactures were determined from the start at European level. The Community began by giving special trade preferences to selected countries, later offering generalised preferences to the other developing countries as well. Cooperation with developing countries has, moreover, usually been offered as part of a package, often with aid, trade, cultural and political elements.

The Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid was established on the third of January 2011, as part of the European Commission. It was formed by merging the Directorate-General for Development and Relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific States with the EuropeAid Cooperation Office.

Within the European Commission, EuropeAid is the Directorate-General responsible for formulating EU development policy and defining sectoral policies in the field of external aid, in order to reduce poverty in the world, to ensure sustainable development and to promote democracy, peace and security. EuropeAid is responsible (either on its own or together with the European External Action Service) for the multiannual programming of the external aid instruments which it implements.

EuropeAid is responsible for implementing the European Union’s external aid instruments which are financed by the European Budget and the European Development Fund. In this context, it ensures a high quality and impact of aid, the swift implementation of projects and the visibility of European aid.

EuropeAid is the single reference point in the Commission for the design of the European Union’s development policy (based on the relevant provisions of the Treaties) and of the “European Consensus on Development” bringing the European Union, the Member States and other European Union stakeholders together with shared values, goals and priorities. Within the European Commission, EuropeAid promotes coherence between the European Union’s development policy and its other policies. EuropeAid coordinates dialogue on development with non-European Union bilateral donors, emerging economies and with international organisations in order to present united European positions as well as ensuring the contribution of the Commission to negotiations at international development fora. Moreover, it enters into dialogue on development issues with non-state actors and defines and implements cooperation measures with them.

EuropeAid establishes sectoral development strategies and instruments in coordination with the Member States. In this field, it works closely with the Commission’s other Directorates-General to ensure that the external dimension of internal policies is taken into account. EuropeAid works towards the objectives set out by the external aid instruments adopted by the Council and the European Parliament. For this purpose, it is responsible for all phases of the operations cycle: programming, identification, appraisal, preparation of financing decisions, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Under the authority of the Commissioner for Development Policy or the Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy, EuropeAid works together with the European External Action Service to set multiannual programming, in particular: financial allocations and strategy papers by country and by region, as well as national and regional indicative programmes.

EuropeAid awards grants and contracts to implement projects or activities that relate to the European Union’s external aid programmes. To ensure that EuropeAid’s work to improve people’s lives is recognised, a set of visibility guidelines have been produced. These guidelines ensure that aid projects acknowledge the funding support they receive from Commission budgets. They also help to raise the general profile of the European Union across the world.

Development aid is financed directly by the European Union budget (70%) as part of the financial instruments for external action and also by the European Development Fund (EDF) (30%). The European Union’s external action financing is divided into ‘geographic’ and ‘thematic’ instruments. The ‘geographic’ instruments provide aid through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI, €16.9 billion, 2007–2013), which must spend 95% of its budget on overseas development assistance (ODA), and from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which contains some relevant programmes. The EDF (€22.7 bn, 2008–2013) is made up of voluntary contributions by European Union  Member States.

The European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument (ENPI) provides Community assistance for the development of an area of prosperity and good relations between the EU and neighbouring countries.

ENPI aims to support measures within a wide range of areas for cooperation, which are defined in Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No. 1638/2006 establishing the ENPI.

Financial Allocation

Its budget for 2007-2013 is €12 billion, of which €1.18 billion is being invested in 15 cross-border cooperation programmes. These cross-border programmes aim to encourage cooperation between countries along the EU’s external land and maritime borders.

Participating countries

The neighbouring countries participating in the ENPI are: Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Russian Federation, Syria, Tunisia and the Ukraine. These are referred to as Partner Countries.


ENPI was set up on 1st January 2007, merging the MEDA, TACIS and other programmes into one more flexible and policy-driven instrument which focuses on sustainable development and the approximation of EU policies and standards in neighbouring Countries.

ENPI is the financial instrument of the European Neighbourhood Policy. It complements the multilateral Barcelona Process, which continues to be a key element of EU relations with the Mediterranean countries.

0/5 (0 Reviews)

For more information about our External Programmes & Co-Operation services, please contact us here.