The financial planning of the EU covers a period of 7 years. The European Council decided in July 2020 to invest 1211 billion euros into the budget for the new period. Of this, 79.5 billion euros will flow into international relations, with the main share being used for third-country development cooperation.
A new feature of this 7-year period is the fact that the European Development Fund will now be integrated to the budget of the European Union. Previously, this was not the case, because the European Development Fund was co-owned by the 28, respectively 27 Member States and was managed by the Commission.
By integrating the European Development Fund into the European Budget, the EU Parliament will benefit from an extension of its rights. Together with the member states, which for their part invest 4 times larger amounts in development policy, the European Union is by far the largest actor in international development cooperation.
As rapporteur of this project, also called “Global Europe”, I was able to secure a majority with my colleagues in Parliament, as well as an agreement with the Council, to devote most of the financial resources to the fight against climate change. Now that we have only one instrument compared to the 10 we had until 2020, we allow the European Union to take much more holistic, comprehensive and rapid decisions.
The same instrument can be used to react to a security problem or to a crisis or conflict in a country, as well as to start or develop more classical cooperation. With the new Biden administration, multilateralism is being reactivated. With the new instrument “Global Europe”, and together with other major development actors, we will gain more clout and have more impact.