EU budget: Making the EU fit for its role as strong global actor

For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the European Commission is proposing to increase the external action budget to €123 billion, to significantly simplify its structure, and make it much more flexible and effective to address today’s global challenges.

The external action budget will be the EU’s main tool to support its partner countries in their political and economic transformations towards sustainable development, stability, consolidation of democracy, socio-economic development and the eradication of poverty. It will also allow the EU to continue to provide humanitarian assistance all over the world. As regards the EU’s neighbourhood, this will also be the tool to help the neighbourhood countries in their economic approximation to the EU’s Single Market.

High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, said: “We propose a budget for the external action of the European Union of €123 billion for the next seven years: an increase of 30% that is an unprecedented investment in our global role. More resources for more action as a reliable, predictable, cooperative global player – exactly what our citizens and our partners expect in these troubled times. It is recognition of the added value of the EU work on foreign policy. Together we can have an impact that no Member State alone can have in today’s world.”

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, highlighted: “The increased and reformed budget will allow us to continue working with those countries that are engaged to join the EU, as well as maintaining our special relationship with our Eastern and Southern neighbours. This will support our strategic goal to achieve a space of stability, security and prosperity close to the EU’s borders.”

Key elements of the new external budget proposal are increased funding, simplification, flexibility, and increased transparency and democratic scrutiny. The Commission proposes to reduce the number of instruments, as well as to integrate the European Development Fund into the EU budget. This will allow for more coherence and a clearer focus on political objectives and engagements with partners, in line with the EU’s values and priorities.

The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III): €14.5 billion will offer increased support to EU candidate countries and potential candidates on their path towards fulfilling the EU accession criteria through deep and comprehensive reforms;

In addition, and outside the EU budget, the High Representative, with the support of the Commission, is proposing to establish a European Peace Facility, with €10.5 billion. The European Peace Facility will fund operational actions under the Common Foreign and Security Policy that have military or defence implications, and therefore cannot be financed under the EU’s budget.