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External cooperation: which instrument for your project?

The external cooperation is the third type of EU programmes. Its budget supports projects with third countries, and is composed of different instruments which can be divided into two categories: thematic instruments and geographic ones. Each of these instruments has its own specific objectives and scope. This overview will help you to focus more easily on the instruments which could best suit your project for the new programming period. Lire_La_Suite

The external cooperation is the third type of EU programmes. Its budget supports projects with third countries, and is composed of different instruments which can be divided into two categories: thematic instruments and geographic ones. Each of these instruments has its own specific objectives and scope. This overview will help you to focus more easily on the instruments which could best suit your project for the new programming period.

Geographic instruments

First, external cooperation funds are provided on a geographical basis:
- To the neighbouring countries, in the fields of enlargement and neighbourhood policies;
- To the ACP and OCT countries;
- To the developing countries;
- And finally to the developed/emerging countries.

Enlargement policy
* IPA - Instrument for Pre-Accession assistance (2014-2020 budget: €11. 7 billion)
This is the instrument for candidate countries and potential candidates, namely Albania, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. It supports them in the implementation of reforms in the political, legal, administrative, social and economic fields in order for them to progressively align to Union rules, standards, policies and practices with a view to Union membership.

Neighbourhood policy
* ENI - European Neighbourhood Instrument (2014-2020 budget: €14.9 billion)
It follows the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) of 2007-2013. It promotes political and economic cooperation between the Union Member-States and the partner countries, in different fields such as human rights, rule of law, sustainable growth or energy cooperation. Support is given either through bilateral or multi-country programmes, covering two specific regions:
- Eastern countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine (Russia also participates to some initiatives, but has signed a framework cooperation agreement outside the ENI)
- Southern countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia

Cooperation with ACP and OCT
* EDF - European Development Fund (2014-2020 budget: €30.5 billion)
This programme is the largest instrument of the external cooperation, and the only one to be managed outside the EU budget. It is funded by the Member-states.
Reducing poverty, integrating countries in the world economy, supporting sustainable development and consolidating democracy and the rule of law are its main objectives.
It is specifically dedicated to the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Countries and to the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT).

Cooperation with developing countries
* DCI - Development and Cooperation instrument (2014-2020 budget: €19.6 billion)
The DCI is divided into different strands. Most of its budget is allocated to geographical programmes, while the rest of the budget goes to two thematic sub-programmes, the CSO-LA and the GPGC programmes, which will then be presented in the next section. A small amount (about €1 billion) of the DCI budget also goes to the Pan-African programme which supports the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.
The DCI geographical programmes aim to reduce poverty in developing countries, to foster economic, social and environmental development, and to support democracy and human rights.
This instrument covers all countries on the ODA list of the OECD DAC (that you can find here) except those covered by the EDF, ENI or IPA, namely countries from Latin America, Asia, the Middle-East and South Africa.

Cooperation with developed and emerging countries
* PI – Partnership Instrument (2014-2020 budget: €916 million)
This instrument supports cooperation with third countries in areas of key interest to the European Union such as competitiveness, research and innovation, migration and concerning major global challenges such as energy security, climate change and environmental protection.
While the other external cooperation programmes are more focused on development issues, this instrument offers a different perspective as it promotes cooperation with countries of major interest to the EU and which have a significant impact on the world economy. It is theoretically open to all countries but it focuses mainly on developed and emerging countries.

Thematic instruments

Alongside the geographical instruments, the external cooperation also provides funds to third countries on a thematic basis:
- Support to public challenges;
- Support to civil society;
- Development of democracy and human rights;
- Conflict prevention and response.

Support to Civil society
*CSO-LA - Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities (2014-2020 budget: €2 billion):
It is the first thematic sub-programme of the Development and Cooperation Instrument. It follows the “Non State Actors and Local Authorities in development” programme. Three types of actions may be funded under this programme: Strengthening capacities of CSOs’ and LAs’ to participate effectively in development and governance processes ; Strengthening CSO’s and LA’s networks ; Raising public awareness of development issues and promoting formal and informal education for development in the Union.
This program is orientated towards the developing countries (ODA list of OECD DAC) and Overseas Countries and Territories.

Public challenges
* GPGC - Global Public Goods and Challenges (2014-2020 budget: €5 billion)
It is the second thematic sub-programme funded under the DCI. It is aimed at supporting actions in the five following areas: environment and climate change, sustainable energy, human development, food security and sustainable agriculture, and migration and asylum.
It covers all countries on the ODA list of the OECD DAC except those covered by the Instrument of Pre-Accession, but it includes Overseas Countries and Territories.

Democracy, human rights
*EIDHR - European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (2014-2020 budget: €1.25 billion):
The EIDHR funds projects providing assistance to the development and consolidation of democracy and the rule of law and of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It may fund actions providing support to human rights defenders, peaceful pro-democracy actions or human rights dialogue for instance.
The EIDHR has a worldwide geographical coverage.

Conflict prevention and response
* IcSP - Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (2014-2020 budget: €2.8 billion):
It is the continuation of the “Instrument for Stability”. It provides grants for projects which aim to increase the efficiency and coherence of the Union’s actions in the areas of conflict prevention and crisis response, crisis preparedness and peace-building and in addressing security threats, including climate security.
Like the EIDHR, it has a worldwide coverage.

You will find more information on each of these funds thanks to our list of European funding grants available here.

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