In one of the major achievements for the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council, the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER II) on December 3 endorsed the agreement with the European Parliament on seven legislative acts setting the rules for some 51 billion euros in EU development aid, assistance to pre-accession and neighbouring countries, strategic partners, promoting human rights and responding to crises in the financial period of 2014-2020.
“Among many achievements of the Lithuanian Presidency, this agreement stands out in its scope and worldwide impact. The Presidency, together with the European Parliament, has ensured that the European Union will continue to be visible and influential partner worldwide as the biggest provider of the official development assistance and tools to promote democracy, rule of law, reforms and poverty reduction,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius.
The seven external financial instruments were proposed by the European Commission in December 2011. The Lithuanian Presidency took up the active role to ensure that the negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Commission would be concluded in time for the funding to be available in the first months of the new financing period. After the endorsement in the Permanent Representatives Committee, the European Parliament is to vote in the Committees of the Foreign Affairs and Development and the Plenary Session next week.
“The Presidency set an ambitious goal and put in much effort to reach the agreement. Each of the financing instruments had its team and intensive negotiations schedule. Ten rounds of trilateral negotiations were held in the past months to find the common vision on the EU priorities in promoting positive changes in its neighbourhood and worldwide given the current financial circumstances. I am very glad that tonight we managed to get the Member States approval of the outcome of the negotiations,” said chair of the Permanent Representatives Committee ambassador Raimundas Karoblis.
The largest of the financing instruments, the Development Cooperation Instrument, sets the rules for some 20 billion euros in funding the sustainable development agenda, especially after 2015. It prioritizes human rights, support for democracy and good governance, environment and reducing impact of the climate change as well as promoting sustainable economic development. Bilateral EU assistance will be provided only to the least developed countries while others are eligible for funding from thematic programmes tackling issues of multilateral importance.
The European Neighbourhood Instrument will provide some 15 billion euros in financing cooperation with the EU Southern and Eastern neighbours. Some 12 billion euros will be set for the Pre-Accesion Instrument to the EU candidate countries.
EU will provide some 2 billion euros in assistance through the Instrument for Stability and spend more than 1 billion euros to promote human rights through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. EU strategic partners are set to receive almost 1 billion euros to implement the international dimension of the Europe 2020 strategy, pursue public diplomacy, cooperation in science and education as well as economy.
Common Implementing Regulation was also agreed, setting the rules for implementing the external financial instruments.
Overall EU spending in 2014-2020 on the Global Europe initiatives will amount to 66 billion euros.