The €79.5 billion Global Europe fund: a new chapter in the EU’s external policy

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell (L) and European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi in Brussels, Belgium, 11 February 2021. [EPA-EFE/FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS]

The new Global Europe instrument brings a major restructuring of the EU’s external action instruments and will strengthen our partnerships globally, writes David McAllister.

David McAllister (EPP, Germany) is Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET).

On Wednesday, the European Parliament will vote on establishing the €79.5 billion Global Europe fund.

Global Europe – previously known as the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – is the main instrument of the EU budget for funding external policy and development cooperation until 2027.

It will invest in development and international cooperation in neighbouring countries and all over the world, promoting human rights and democracy.

This programme makes our foreign action faster and easier. The regulation brings a major restructuring of the European Union’s external action instruments. Instead of eleven funds, there is now exactly one.

The European Union is a leading provider of official development assistance (ODA).

With this new fund, we underline our ambitions and go even further. It shows our will to be a global player and to continue to be a reliable and trustworthy partner.

At the same time, the EU’s international cooperation will be better linked with our political priorities. The overarching objective is to uphold and promote the European Union’s values, principles and fundamental interests worldwide to pursue our principles of peace, stability, human rights, the rule of law, democracy, multilateralism and sustainability.

93% of the overall funding contributes to actions designed in such a way that they are in line with the criteria of the OECD for development assistance. Also, 30% is expected to contribute to achieving climate objectives.

One key element is strengthened oversight and democratic accountability.

The European Parliament has secured an important role in steering this comprehensive financing instrument composed of a geographic and a thematic pillar, rapid response actions and a reserve that can be quickly mobilised in case of emerging needs.

The Parliament will play an enhanced role in the definition of the main strategic choices.

Before any mobilisation of the emerging challenges and priorities cushion, the Commission will inform the European Parliament and consider its view.

Twice a year, a High-Level Geopolitical Dialogue between Parliament and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and the Commissioners Jutta Urpilainen and Olivér Várhelyi, is supposed to improve the scrutiny of decisions made under this instrument.

The very first geopolitical dialogue is set to take place on 15 June.

With Global Europe, we will strengthen our partnerships with countries in the neighbourhood, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, the Caribbean and the Americas. We live in a globalized world. What happens in other parts of the world is not just the news we read. It has an impact on our daily lives.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed this fact like nothing before. We want to cooperate with other countries worldwide and support our partners with expertise and experience.

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