New expert group on “EU Platform for External Cooperation and Development”

Africa and Europe in Partnership A European Commission expert group involving the European External Action Service, the European Investment Bank and EU Member States has today started its work to study the potential benefits of establishing an EU Platform for External Cooperation and Development. The aim of this EU Platform would be to find ways to increase the impact of the EU’s external cooperation activities by optimising mechanisms for blending grants and loans. The European Commission aims to report to the European Parliament and to the Council in mid-2012, allowing for a political decision on whether to create such a Platform.

EIB President, Philippe Maystadt, said: “In a period of resource constraints within the EU, it becomes ever more important that the EC, the EIB, Member States and other European financial institutions join forces to support the EU’s ambitious external policy agenda. I firmly believe that building on the expertise and resources of all EU actors is the way forward to maximise the effectiveness of EU financing in support of partner countries.”

The European Parliament and the Council requested the European Commission to create a group of experts, comprised of Member States, the European External Action Service and the European Investment Bank, whose role would be to assess the costs and benefits of establishing an “EU Platform for External Cooperation and Development”. The group of experts will consult with other relevant actors, notably multilateral and bilateral finance institutions. Based on the findings of the group of experts, the Commission will report to the European Parliament and to the Council in mid-2012 and, if appropriate, make recommendations for a Platform.

About € 570 million in grants from the EU budget and the European Development Fund have leveraged some € 8 billion loans from the EIB and other European finance institutions, which has unlocked total project financing for EU external action and development policy of more than € 20 billion. For example, Africa – EU Infrastructure Trust Fund is financed through EIB.

An “EU Platform for External Cooperation and Development” could further optimise the functioning of such mechanisms for blending loans and grants outside the EU, notably by mobilising additional funding including from the private sector.

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