The European Commission put forward its proposal for a major recovery plan to deal with the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, with a significant increase in funding for external action. A total of €118.2 billion is proposed for external action for the period 2021-2027, with an additional €15.5 billion (plus €1 billion already from this year) to support its partners in recovery efforts in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, in line with the European Union’s role of a strong global actor.
In his address to the press on 2 June, the High Representative explained that the modern, innovative and revamped long-term EU budget, boosted by the new emergency European Recovery Instrument, “Next Generation EU”, provides an ambitious answer to the challenges the EU is facing internal and externally.
The increased budget will reinforce 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.
Extra €16.5 billion for external action
The new proposal introduces a €16.5 billion top-up through these main changes:
An ambitious and innovative structure
In 2018, the Commission made an important and innovative proposal to simplify and streamline most of its external financing. The Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, (NDICI) merges 10 existing external financing instruments. The European Development Fund is integrated in the budget. These proposals remain untouched and are even more relevant today.
There is also a proposal for a European Peace Facility to enhance the Union's ability to preserve peace, prevent conflicts and strengthen international security, an off-budget fund, worth € 8 billion, to finance external actions of a military or defence nature that are not funded under the Union's budget.
Through these proposals, the EU High Representative says “the European Union is showing that international responsibility and solidarity is at the heart of our response. It also shows our determination to continue promoting our interests and values throughout the world.”