EU external financing instruments and the post-2020 architecture: European Implementation Assessment

28-02-2018

This study evaluates the performance of the EU external financing instruments (EFIs) in the light of the results of the European Commission’s mid-term review and discussions on their post-2020 architecture. This evaluation finds that the existing architecture and geographic/thematic coverage of the EFIs has, overall, been relevant to the EU policy objectives set in 2014. However, they were less responsive to recipients’ needs, and implementation weaknesses persist. At the strategic level, weaknesses in EFIs that need attention in the post-2020 architecture include: balancing short-term expediency with long-term needs; ensuring EU security needs and interests do not marginalise EU values; and safeguarding the development-oriented agenda of EFIs. At an operational level, the EFIs need to overcome the ‘silo’ approach to implementation, and develop solid monitoring and evaluation systems that assess the EFIs’ impact in recipient countries. This study provides options for tackling these limitations, including the need to integrate simplification, ensure sustainability of EU action, strengthen flexibility while remaining consistent and committed to EU fundamental values, create multi-actor partnerships, link EU action to EU strategies, and strengthen EU strategic communication. The annexed expert paper found that EU support to civil society in Turkey, Ukraine and Egypt has improved in recent years, but it still struggles to meet new challenges. Neither radical simplification of the EFIs nor a dedicated civil society instrument would necessarily improve civil society support, and may involve serious drawbacks. The EU’s most pressing challenges are to link civil society more effectively to reform-oriented aid; find ways to support new civic actors; temper the current assault on civil society organisations; and to find more nuanced ways to link civil society to strategic goals.

This study evaluates the performance of the EU external financing instruments (EFIs) in the light of the results of the European Commission’s mid-term review and discussions on their post-2020 architecture. This evaluation finds that the existing architecture and geographic/thematic coverage of the EFIs has, overall, been relevant to the EU policy objectives set in 2014. However, they were less responsive to recipients’ needs, and implementation weaknesses persist. At the strategic level, weaknesses in EFIs that need attention in the post-2020 architecture include: balancing short-term expediency with long-term needs; ensuring EU security needs and interests do not marginalise EU values; and safeguarding the development-oriented agenda of EFIs. At an operational level, the EFIs need to overcome the ‘silo’ approach to implementation, and develop solid monitoring and evaluation systems that assess the EFIs’ impact in recipient countries. This study provides options for tackling these limitations, including the need to integrate simplification, ensure sustainability of EU action, strengthen flexibility while remaining consistent and committed to EU fundamental values, create multi-actor partnerships, link EU action to EU strategies, and strengthen EU strategic communication. The annexed expert paper found that EU support to civil society in Turkey, Ukraine and Egypt has improved in recent years, but it still struggles to meet new challenges. Neither radical simplification of the EFIs nor a dedicated civil society instrument would necessarily improve civil society support, and may involve serious drawbacks. The EU’s most pressing challenges are to link civil society more effectively to reform-oriented aid; find ways to support new civic actors; temper the current assault on civil society organisations; and to find more nuanced ways to link civil society to strategic goals.

Vanjski autor

Annex: EU Support to Civil Society in Turkey, Ukraine and Egypt: Mapping reforms to the external financing instruments, written by Professor Richard Youngs, Carnegie Europe.