EU adds more money to boost its role as strong global actor

The Union has a strong interest in helping the longer term recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in its partner countries

Photo: EU Virginie Battu-Henriksson, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy, Josep Borrell Fontelles, Jutta Urpilainen and Olivér Várhelyi (L-R)

In its ambitious Recovery package, that will be discussed by the EU leaders on 19 June in Brussels, the Commission has proposed a budget of €118.2bn for external action, with an extra €15.5bn to support its partners in recovery efforts in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. Thus will be boosted EU’s role as a strong global actor.

Another €1bn is foreseen for the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) from the current EU budget for an immediate response to the crisis, augmenting the supplementary money to €16.5bn.

Out of €118.2bn, in 2018 prices, which is €132.6bn in current prices, the main instrument, the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), will receive €86bn, in 2018 prices, €96.4bn in current prices, including €10.5ln from the new Next Generation EU recovery tool. Humanitarian aid budget will increase by €5bn from this new instrument to €14.8bn, or €16.5bn in current prices.

The Pre-Accession Assistance in the next 7-year EU budget will be €12.9bn, or €14.5bn in current prices, as it was initially proposed in the first MFF draft.

Commenting on the budget for the external action High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, stressed that coronavirus crisis has dramatically changed the world as we know it and pre-crisis challenges have not disappeared but become even more complex.

We will only be able to address this situation effectively, and mitigate its consequences if we work together and cooperate globally, with our partners and this needs to be underpinned by an ambitious external budget, positioning the EU as leading geopolitical actor at the world stage, he said. According to him, the proposed budget will allow the EU to deliver on this commitment.

Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, outlined that strength will come from international cooperation, multilateralism and partnerships. With our proposal today, the EU is not only leading the global response to the crisis, we are also inviting our partners to a coalition to build a sustainable and inclusive future for the next generations in our societies, she opined.

The EU has a strong interest in helping to sustain the longer term recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in our partner countries, particularly in the Western Balkans and our immediate neighbours to the South and the East, Olivér Várhelyi, Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner, underlined.  

As he pointed out the proposal gives all the tools needed to target investments in key economic sectors, bring liquidity to small and medium sized companies and provide macro-financial assistance. We will be able to concretely support their recovery, boost their development and the necessary reforms, Commissioner Várhelyi also said.

Until the new budget starts implementing in January 2021, for addressing immediate needs, the Commission suggested EFSD to receive €1bn plus, and more than doubling its financing capacity, from €1.5bn to €3.6bn. The executive proposes as well to extend the coverage of the EFSD Guarantee to the Western Balkans, in addition to the Neighbourhood and Sub-Saharan Africa.


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