The European Commission just presented its proposals for the EU's external relations budget. Funds for the so-called 'external financing instruments' have been increased to 123 billion Euro for the period between 2021 and 2027. This budget is intended for such things as development cooperation, support to pre-accession countries and the promotion of human rights. Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (D66/ALDE) is happy that more money will be available for the EU's foreign policy, but calls on the Commission to provide more transparency and clarity on the way in which the funds will be spent and governed.
Schaake: "The EU should be able to adequately respond to international challenges and threats. That means providing opportunities to young people in developing countries, but also supporting journalists and human rights defenders that are operating in an increasingly hostile environment. The aggressive international policies of countries such as China and Russia also underline the need for a strong EU foreign policy. But we can only play a credible role on the world stage if our external policies are matched by sufficient funding."
Transparency and effectiveness
Today's proposals contain little detail about the way in which the Commission intends to increase transparency and the effectiveness of the money it spends in third countries. Schaake will continue pressing the Commission on these issues.
Schaake: "To make sure our foreign policy actually has an impact, we need an analysis of how much money is spent in which country and why. Such an overview is key if we want to further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the money we spend in third countries. At the same time, it would allow us to check whether countries such as Turkey continue to adhere to our conditions. The EU should be able to suspend financial support to a country or organisation that consistently violates our rights and principles."