Financing EU external action: understanding Member State priorities

Working and discussion papers
December 2018
Clare Castillejo, Niels Keijzer, Oscar Chmiel, Mariella Di Ciommo, Juha Jokela, Erik Lundsgaarde, Iliana Olivié, Aitor Perez, Sanne Thijssen, Julie Vaille, Zsuzsanna Vegh and Bernardo Venturi
Plenary session October in Strasbourg. Photo: © European Union 2017 – European Parliament

The negotiations on the next EU Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2020–2027 are moving slowly. Despite the European Commission’s desire for swift progress, it now seems unlikely that a deal will be reached before the European Parliament elections in April 2019.

A key feature of the proposed MFF is an ambitious budget for EU external action – Heading 6 – and a new single ‘Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument’ (NDICI). This would merge a large number of stand-alone EU external financing instruments into one.

This paper assesses the potential for a well-positioned and ambitious Heading 6 and examines whether it – and the NDICI – will survive the negotiations. It offers insight into factors that are likely to shape the positions of Member States during the coming months, focusing on Denmark, France, Finland, Italy, Hungary, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.