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These relations are conducted within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement, a global agreement signed in 2000 between African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Union. The cooperation between the two started in 1975 with the coming into force of the Lomé Convention, precursor to the present Cotonou Agreement. This is the year that the office of the Delegation of the EU was established in Lusaka.
Zambia is a peaceful and stable country with a liberalised economy. The European Union and Zambia are engaged in a close political dialogue, conducted within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement, a global agreement signed in the year 2000 between the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Union. Dialogue is not only with Government but with all Zambian stakeholders including political parties, Zambian institutions and civil society.
The dialogue is constant and focuses on development and consolidation of democracy, rule of law, fundamental freedoms and human rights. The dialogue also covers all subjects of mutual interest including those being discussed at the UN level. Zambia is increasingly active in regional and continental affairs, bearing also in mind that it is currently a Member of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security. Zambia is also participating to peace keeping missions.
A formal political dialogue with Government is organised annually and is based on Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement. The Minister of Foreign Affairs leads the government team composed by a high number of ministers and senior government officials while the European Union is represented by all the EU Heads of Missions permanently resident in Lusaka and a number of EU HoMs accredited to Zambia but resident abroad. The agenda is comprehensive and covers a wide number of subjects. For instance in the last few years the subjects included foreign policy issues, Zambia’s internal affairs, EU internal affairs, trade and investments, development relations and climate change. Discussions have proved to be cordial, fruitful and result oriented. The friendship between Zambia and the European Union is remarkable and over many years of close collaboration we have established a solid and dynamic partnership. We call it a 360 degree partnership.
In 2016, in response to an invitation from the Zambian Authorities, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy decided to deploy an EU Electoral Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Zambia to observe the elections held on 11 August 2016. As the European Union previously observed also the 2011 and 2006 elections, this decision underlined the EU’s continued commitment to supporting the Zambian democracy. The EU EOM, led by Chief Observer, Cecile Kyenge, Member of the European, issued its final report, containing a list of recommendations.
An EU Election Follow up Mission (EFM) was deployed from 27 May to 19 June 2019 in Zambia to assess, at the mid-term point in the electoral cycle, the relevance and states of implementation of the recommendations of the 2016 EU EOM report. The full report has been issued and is published on this website.
Economically Zambia is a country where, notwithstanding several challenges, the opportunities of interest to private sector investors are real, both for those already present in Zambia and for potential foreign investors. The EU intends to support Zambia’s sustainable growth and job creation focusing on sustainable agriculture and sustainable energy, fostering reforms and facilitating investment opportunities with a focus on private sector investments. The EU encourages trade and investment relations with Europe and engages in economic diplomacy. In this framework worth mentioning is the initiative taken by the EU Delegation and the EU Member States and Zambia to create the first ever EU Zambia Business Club (EUZBC) in June 2016. The EUZBC, composed of around 150 companies from many EU Member States and Zambia, provides a networking platform for members to gain knowledge of the business environment and business opportunities. It aims at contributing towards a sound environment for businesses and investments. It is a good partner of the Zambian government in terms of dialogue and policy definition. The EUZBC is today registered as an Association and has its own website at www.euzbc.org. The EUZBC is run by a an elected Board and the secretariat is ensured by the EU Delegation. Trade relations are good and balanced (ref to dedicated chapter here below).
All the above is done in full support to the Zambia Development Strategy in coherence with the EU Member States and consistently with the development efforts which are financed mainly through the European Development Fund (EDF) but also via the budget of the European Union.
As a Least Developed Country (LDC), Zambia benefits from a variety of preferential market access initiatives such as the EU Everything-But-Arms initiative (EBA) under which Zambian goods exported to the EU enjoy a duty-free, quota free treatment.
According to 2016 Zambian data, the EU remains an important trade partner for Zambia, being its 3rd import partner and its 7th export partner.
The bilateral trade in goods was at 786 million EUR in 2016:
EU goods imports from Zambia: 434 million EUR
EU goods exports to Zambia: 352 million EUR
EU's imports from Zambia are mainly primary products (non-ferrous metals and agricultural products). EU's main exports to Zambia were machinery, transport equipment and chemical products. Zambia has opportunities to increase its exports to Europe. The country can also emerge as regional food exporter and develop long-term competitiveness of local mining supply cluster.
For more information on the EU-Zambia bilateral trade, please have a look at the:
In line with its Communication "Trade, Growth and Development – Tailoring trade and investment policy for those countries most in need", the EU seeks to ensure that its trade and development policies help developing countries, in particular, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to benefit from increased trade opportunities.
In Zambia, the EU proposes a number of ways to improve the effectiveness of EU trade and development, including:
Bilateral trade: through the Everything but Arms Initiative, the EU aims to ensure that Zambia benefits from duty free and quota free access to the EU market;
Aid for Trade: the EU provides financial assistance to help Zambia undertake domestic reforms to develop its capacity to trade, to produce, as well as the institutional and economic infrastructure necessary to expand trade.
The EU provides an online service, the Trade Helpdesk to facilitate market access to exporters, especially small operators, who are interested in supplying the EU market. In turn, the Market Access Database has been specifically designed to address the needs of EU-based exporters and importers.
Zambia has definitive advantages to attract investors:
Peaceful and stable economic environment,
abundant natural resources,
access to water,
profile to become an energy and agricultural exporter.
In 2016, Zambia was the 7th best performing country in Sub-Saharan Africa (and the 98th in the world) in terms of business environment, according to the Ease of Doing Business index.
The EU Foreign Direct Investment stocks in the country is in second place after OECD non-EU countries, and followed closely by Asian investments and by significantly lower amounts from COMESA and SADC. In terms of FDI flows, the EU also occupies the second place, with 35.3% of the total FDI flows into Zambia in 2015.
In terms of investors' perception, 2016 Bank of Zambia survey indicated that starting a business, overall ease of doing business, and paying taxes got favourable evaluation of respondents, whereas getting credit, enforcing contracts, trading across borders and resolving insolvency were rated unsatisfactorily. The main concerns of investors included high cost of doing business, the macroeconomic environment, the bureaucratic administrative procedures, and the poor service delivery by key institutional players.
Zambian Development Agency was created in 2006 to facilitate investments in Zambia. Zambia declared as well six areas as Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZ) and/or Industrial Parks.
One of the Delegation's key areas of responsibility is the management of EU external assistance to Zambia and to COMESA. The EU is a long-standing cooperating partner of Zambia. For over 40 years the EU has been supporting Zambia's development in its social, economic and environmental dimensions through the European Development Fund (EDF) and a number of other financing instruments..
The EU implements its programmes in the frame of the New European Consensus for Development (link), the EU development policy which reflects Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs
EU development relations with Zambia are guided by three overarching goals, namely to: 1) Advance economic and democratic governance, accountability and effective use of public resources 2) Promote sustainable and inclusive growth, job creation and resilience; 3) Enhance human development and gender empowerment to reduce poverty and inequalities.
These goals are articulated within focal sectors of cooperation. Under the 11th EDF, covering the period 2014-2020, the EU has allocated EUR 460 million, entirely in the form of grants, for programmes in key economic sectors (Energy, Agriculture) and in the area of Governance. Priorities for development cooperation are set out in the National Indicative Programme for Zambia, signed in October 2014 between the EU and the Government of the Republic of Zambia
In the area of Governance, the EU has been focusing on 1) Strengthening the election system, 2) Access to Justice and Human Rights; 3) Gender equity and Women Empowerment, and Fight AgainstGender-Based Violence; 4) Public Finance Management.
Elections Support The EU is going to allocate €7 million available to support stakeholders who work in the electoral cycle for elections that will be held in August 2021. This support aims to strengthen democracy in Zambia and contribute to increasing transparency and accountability of public institutions to ensure a credible electoral process. The programme will also support the implementation of the recommendations that came out of the EU Election Observation Mission report following the 2016 elections.
Justice and Human Rights Protection - The EU is contributing to efforts to enhance equality in the access to legal assistance through a flagship programme on Legal Empowerment and Enhanced Justice Delivery (PLEED) implemented in close cooperation with Germany. The programme works to strengthen access to legal and paralegal support for the most vulnerable, including women and juveniles and promote policy and institutional framework reforms for a more effective efficient and inclusive just delivery. It is complemented by projects to improve conditions of detention within Zambia's penitentiary institutions implemented by non-governmental organisations. Due to the successes of the programme, the programme has been extended until March 2021.
Gender equity and Women Empowerment, and Gender-Based Violence - The European Union’s EUR 25 Million Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) programme is supporting the Zambian Government in its coordinated response towards SGBV. The programme’s first pillar focuses on SGBV prevention by challenging and changing beliefs, attitudes and behaviour through partnership with traditional, religious and political leaders, through age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education, and through reach-out to the masses by community radio – implemented by BBC Media Action. The programme’s second pillar focuses on increasing access and use of comprehensive support services to survivors of SGBV, especially by rolling-out the one-stop SGBV centres to all districts in Luapula and Northern Province. Access to psycho-social counselling is being increased through a grant to Lifeline/Child Line Zambia to increase its capacity to provide psycho-social counselling by phone (933 for Lifeline; 116 for Childline). The programme’s third pillar focuses on strengthening the institutional capacity and the multi-sectoral coordinated response of the Zambian Government. The programme has started being implemented and will run up to 2023 with the main focus on Luapula and Northern Provinces where our partners Norwegian Church Aid, World Vision and BBC Media Action are already operational.
Zambia is further one of the recipient countries of the Global partnership programme on Ending Child Marriage implemented by UNICEF and UNFPA, and jointly funded by the European Union, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Canada. Zambia also receives funding from the EU-funded Regional Programme on birth registration, implemented by UNICEF.
The European Union further supports various projects with civil society to strengthen Gender equity and Women Empowerment. More details on the EU’s support to civil society is provided under that section of the website.
On Public Finance Management, the 11th EDF funded Effectiveness and Transparency in the Management of Public Resources (EFFECT) programme will contribute to the improvement of the planning, budgeting and budget implementation capacities of the Government of Zambia, as well as the capacities of the main oversight institutions - the National Assembly, the Office of the Auditor General and the Anti-Corruption Commission. It will also support the Zambian Revenue Authority in its efforts to modernize revenue collection processes so to ensure that the tax system is simpler, the tax base expanded and the compliance increased.
Funded under the 11th European Development Fund (2014-2020), the program reflects the EU approach “Collect more – spend better”, to reinforce governance, raise revenue collection, improve the quality of spending and strengthen fiscal transparency and accountability.
Through this ambitious and innovative action the EU will put at the disposal of Zambia the best expertise possible, including from highly reputed institutions from European Union Member States such as the Supreme Audit and the Anti-Corruption institutions.
Agriculture – Agriculture is the primary source of income and food for the rural poor; The sector employs more than 50% of Zambia's labour force, however its contribution to GDP remains modest. The EU is committed to help accelerate the transition from a still predominantly subsistence-based and maize centred agriculture to more business oriented farming systems that can promote economic diversification, generate decent jobs and improve livelihoods and dietary diversity of smallholder farmers. The EU is currently investing to scale up conservation agriculture country-wide based on a more efficient use of natural resources such as water and soil. The EU is also strengthening the capacities of key government institutions for more consistent agriculture and nutrition policies and improved service delivery to farmers.
Upcoming programmes will target greater integration of Smallholder farmers into agricultural value chains by working with and providing innovative financing mechanisms to famer groups (such as cooperatives &/or associations) and agribusinesses focussed on working with smallholders. EU grant financing will be complemented with loan funding from European Financing Institutions, for example the European Investment Bank which will work through local institutions to provide attractive loans to agriculture.
The above will be an integral part of a wider approach that includes dedicated components on water management and irrigation, climate-smart agriculture, smallholder aquaculture and nutrition.
In the Energy sector the EU is working hand in hand with sector institutions, international financing institutions and other stakeholders to help pursue inclusive growth, economic diversification and build resilience to climate change effects. Financial and technical assistance under the 11th European Development Fund have been almost equally distributed between power generation, transmission and distribution as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency to improve access to clean, reliable and affordable energy for all Zambia citizens.
For large power generation and transmission projects, EDF grants acted as catalyst for increased financing of strategic investments ensuring energy security such as the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam which provides nearly half of the country's total power generation (an investment grant of € 64 million for the reshaping of the plunge pool out of a total budget of some € 250 million) and the high voltage transmission line from the newly built Itezhi Tezhi hydro-power plant to the national grid (an investment grant of € 18.2 million out of a total investment of € 255 million). Other priority projects include the Zambia – Tanzania power interconnector that will link the Eastern African Power Pool with the Southern African Power Pool and for which the EU financially supported technical design, feasibility studies and other project preparatory activities.
Regarding distribution infrastructure, the two important projects that are in the early stages of implementation include the upgrading and extension of the electricity distribution network in Lusaka (EDF grant of € 65 million out of an investment of € 260 million) and in the Southern Provinces of Zambia (EDF grant of € 10.4 million out of an investment of € 87 million). These projects aim to increase connectivity within underserved, poor rural and peri urban areas - today only one Zambian out of three is connected to the electricity network. These two investments combined are expected to connect over 80.000 households and provide electricity to hundreds of productive users such as micro and small enterprises. They will also help in reducing high transmission losses, which are currently in the range of 16%, thereby decreasing the cost of service provided to end consumers.
These two distribution projects follow and build upon another similar undertaking, implemented under the 10th EDF and finished by 2017, where the EU contributed, together with other development partners, to the Increased Access to Electricity Services project (EDF grant of € 10 million out of an investment of € 36.5 million) which provided for more than 92,000 households connections to the electricity grid across the country, primarily in urban areas. The majority of connections provided targeted households run by women and single mothers. In addition, the EU supported electrification of the Mumbwa and Kaoma districts (EDF contribution of € 10 million) where an investment grant financed new transmission lines to reach those remote rural areas. Moreover, the project resulted in new connections to more than 500 households, 210 micro and small enterprises, 11 clinics, and 24 schools.
As evidenced for example in the Mumbwa district, the EU financial support to access to grid electricity in rural areas had a major effect on economic and social development in the area, including agricultural developments on a major scale as well as mining operations and related job creation opportunities. After just a few years from providing electricity, power demand in the area increased so much that a new investment in distribution network has been necessitated and carried out by ZESCO to enable increase of power supply by 800%. Moreover, in targeted rural areas, the project generated additional gender related benefits including increase of the number of girls / women having access to education, increased number of women having access to safe healthcare and decreased burden of wood and water collection arising from improved access to energy.
In the financing of the above mentioned power infrastructure projects the EU has joined forces with EU financing institutions (European Investment Bank - EIB) and the EU Member States development banks (Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau - KfW and Agence Francaise de Developpement - AfD) as well as multilateral banks (African Development Bank - AfDB, and World Bank - WB) by "blending" investment grants and technical assistance with concessional loans.
In addition to grid extension and distribution programmes, the EU is going to increasingly support small scale, private sector-led renewable energy projects, based on innovative business and financing models, particularly in rural areas remote from the main grid. These are crucial for enabling broader, inclusive economic and social development as well as migration towards green economy based on clean energy sources and usage. A new programme promoting generation and consumption based on renewable energy and energy efficiency has commenced in 2018 and a Zambia dedicated window of the global EU Electrification Financing Initiative (www.electrifi.org) will be launched soon in 2019. It is expected that at least 100,000 people in rural areas will benefit from those programmes supporting private sector investments and receive access to reliable energy services.
Apart from supporting infrastructure development, the EU has also actively engaged with the Government of Zambia in dialogue on policy and regulatory reforms needed to attract the much needed investments in the sector, to enhance performance of energy sector institutions and to promote uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives.
Transport - The EU has supported through investment grants the rehabilitation and upgrading of backbone road infrastructure in Zambia, to improve connectivity within Zambia and with its neighbouring countries, as well as to enable economic development along main transport corridors crossing the country. The most recently funded projects include the Choma - Livingstone road in the Southern Province and Great East Road (GER) in the Eastern Province (Luangwa Bridge - Nyimba and Sinda – Mwami Border sections). The GER rehabilitation project co-financed with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) during the period 2013-2018 has improved some 254 km of an important link connecting Lusaka to the Eastern Province and Zambia with Malawi and the Nacala port in Mozambique. Beyond regional importance, the improved road will also benefit many small and medium size enterprises located along the route and facilitate access for tourists and goods to the Luangwa Valley tourism area.
Support to road rehabilitation has gone in parallel with the reinforcement of capacities of institutional partners in the sector, such as the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Road Development Agency, National Road Fund Agency and others, particularly in the area of road management practices, planning and budgeting for road maintenance and rehabilitation.
New projects under the 11th European Development Fund regional programme include the upgrading of an important section of the Great North Road, between Chinsali and Mpika (co-financed with the EIB), which is another key economic infrastructure for the country and for the Southern Africa region, linking Zambia with Tanzania (and the Port of Dar es Salaam) and the broader Eastern Africa region. It is expected that rehabilitation works on this road will commence in 2020.
Civil Aviation - The EU has also undertaken to assist in the modernisation of the civil aviation sector, through the development of regulatory and operational know-how and support to technology transfer with results in the areas of air safety, security and air traffic management. Further to efforts to enhance Zambia's compliance with the international air safety standards, in June 2016, Zambia was successfully removed from the EU Air Safety List which allows Zambia registered carriers to operate in the EU airspace.
The second Aviation Sector Support Programme (2017-2021) is implemented jointly with the European Air Safety Agency (EASA), a prominent EU agency in the field of air safety, who will assist Zambia to further enhance its air safety operations and management in order to meet most of its air safety management obligations as set forth by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Further technical assistance will also be provided to key sector stakeholders such as the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Zambia Airport Corporation Ltd (ZACL) and others to strengthen their capacity to effectively manage the expected growth in air transport operations within and to/from Zambia. It is expected that those structural and operational improvements will enable the sector to not only meet international standards but also attract additional investments thereby benefiting the country's economic growth.
The European Union supports two large flagship programmes in the health sector, i.e. the Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition Programme (MDGi) and the Health Systems Strengthening Programme (HSSP).
The first programme is the EUR 50 Million Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition Programme (MDGi). This mother and child health programme is a comprehensive multi-sectoral programme with interventions at health facility, district and community level, covering the whole continuum of care from reproductive health, pregnancy, delivery, postnatal care, child health, adolescent health and nutrition. It focuses on improving the quality of care to mothers, adolescents and children within the health facility and through outreach into the communities – helping Zambia's most vulnerable populations. The programme has made very tangible progress in 1) The expansion, rehabilitation and equipping of 54 Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) health facilities; 2) The improvement of water supplies, sanitation and infection control in health facilities; 3) extensive capacity building efforts targeting both health care workers and community-based volunteers. The programme is implemented in eleven districts in the Copperbelt and Lusaka provinces by the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and UNFPA.
The second flagship EU initiative is the EUR 18 Million Health Systems Strengthening Programme (HSSP). This five years programme aims at improving the availability of quality-assured essential medicines in the public and private health sector and to contribute to rational and correct use of essential medicines in Zambia. This programme is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) and Medical Stores Limited (MSL). Main activities include the construction of a new National Medicines Quality Control Laboratory and offices for ZAMRA, as well as the expansion and upgrading of the MSL Central Warehouse for storing health products in Lusaka. It also provides technical support to build capacities and to design and implement health policy reforms in the fields of medicines quality control and supply chain management.
The European Union (Commission and Member States combined) is a large funder of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and GAVI – the Global Vaccine Alliance. Between 2003 and 2018 the GFATM disbursed more than 1.1 billion USD to Zambia, whereas GAVI committed US$ 143 Million to Zambia.
Zambia is further one of the recipient countries under the regional Universal Health Coverage Partnership Programme implemented by WHO and funded by the EU, Luxembourg and Ireland. This programme runs from 2016-2019 and focuses on health financing, policy dialogue and donor coordination. The Partnership supported the development of the 2017-2021 National Health Strategic Plan.
The European Union also contributes to health research in Zambia under the Horizon 2020 Framework Research Programme. The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCDP) programme has supported clinical development in sub-Saharan Africa of new or improved products against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. A number of these projects have been implemented with the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).
Cooperation with Civil Society
The EU Delegation in Zambia partners with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in their own right as actors of governance and accountability and also as service providers. Presently, the Delegation is supporting CSOs to roll out interventions in the following areas: deepening citizen engagement in democracy and social accountability, promoting inmates re-integration in society through provision of TEVET skills in correctional facilities, scaling up nutrition, access to justice, reduction of gender based violence, education and WASH interventions for refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and host communities , as well as protection of persons with disability.
Grants to CSO partners are awarded mainly through calls for proposals under different funding instruments such as the European Development Fund (EDF), the Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities (CSO/LA) as well as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). The Delegations' current contribution to CSOs amounts to approx. EUR 14 million and within the year 2019, additional grants (approx. EUR 18 million) were signed with CSOs under the Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) programme.
The EU Country Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society in Zambia 2018-2020 aims to establish a more structured dialogue and further improve collaboration between CSOs and the EU with its Member States. It has the following three main priorities: 1) to enhance CSOs capacities in project management, internal governance, fund-raising, monitoring and evaluation, 2) To enhance CSOs contribution to governance policy dialogue and development processes, including improved interaction with government; 3) To improve coordination between Delegation, EU MS and other cooperating partners & joint support where possible. From inception of the roadmap, the EU has convened a number of “share and learn” events with mainly Zambian CSOs to discuss topics such as policy engagement, resource mobilisation, governance issues, training in project cycle management and financial and contract management, monitoring & evaluation and evidence based research. The Delegation will continue to convene CSO 'learn & share' events within the framework of the structured engagement of the EU with CSOs in Zambia and showcase the valuable work of CSOs during the Annual Programme for Europe Month in Zambia.
Cooperation with Local Authorities - The implementation of the Enhancing Local Government Capacity for Development project (€2M, 2018-2021), funded under the Local Authorities budget line, kicked off in early 2018. The project aims to enhance local governance for effective, efficient and inclusive service delivery and development in 10 districts in Zambia, including developing integrated development plans (IDPs), local economic development (LED) plans, and supporting capacities at local government level as the GRZ begins implementation of the Devolution Policy. Working closely with the Ministry of Local Government, the project is implemented by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum in partnership with the Local Government Association of Zambia.
Institutional Arrangements - Actions under the National Indicative Programme are implemented through the National Authorising Officer (NAO) of the EDF in Zambia. The NAO is the official representative of the Government of Zambia responsible for overall coordination of EU support in accordance with the Cotonou Agreement. The Secretary to the Treasury in the Ministry of Finance has been assigned the responsibility as the NAO. Under the programme, a NAO technical office has been established in the Ministry of Finance to provide the NAO with the necessary technical, administrative and coordination support.
Cooperation with EU Member States - The EU Delegation coordinates closely with EU Member States in Zambia in the areas of policy dialogue, programming and implementation of development assistance, including a number of joint initiatives and co-financed programmes. Collectively, through the ongoing bilateral agreements and multiannual country strategies the EU and Member States have made a total envelope in the order of EUR 1.2 billion available to Zambia. These are all grants to which one should add the substantial support made available by European Development Financing Institutions, mostly through concessional loans (e.g.: AfD, EIB, KFW) and the grant support provided through EU and EU MS regional and thematic instruments.