The initial EU budget of the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), as programmed in the EU's Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020, amounts to approximately €1 billion per year (a total of €7.1 billion was adopted for the entire seven years of the MFF). In addition to the core humanitarian aid and civil protection activities, the 2016 budget includes support for the EU Aid Volunteers initiative, the emergency support inside the EU and the emergency distribution of milk to Syrian children.
Although the seven year ceiling is set by the MFF profile, the precise figure is decided each year by the EU Budget Authority (European Parliament and Council), following the annual budget procedure. In addition to the initial budget, an EU Emergency Aid Reserve can be called upon to respond to unforeseen events and major crises, financing notably humanitarian, civilian crisis management and protection operations in non-EU countries. In addition, unused amounts from other EU funding programmes may be transferred to humanitarian aid during the course of the year.
In addition to the above, and in the context of the current refugee crisis in Europe, a new EU Regulation was adopted in 2016, allowing the EU to provide emergency support in response to exceptional crises or disasters within the EU which give rise to severe humanitarian consequences. A new funding allocation of €300 million is planned in 2016 to that effect, complemented by an additional €200 million in 2017 and €200 million in 2018.
The European Commission provides humanitarian funding worldwide to over 200 partner organisations which implement relief actions on the ground. These include non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international organisations and United Nations agencies.
A breakdown of 2015 humanitarian aid funding by geographic area and by implementing partner is shown below.