Myths and facts about EU budget and external cooperation
Currently, when EU institutions are working on the new financial framework 2014-2020, let's take a look how the EU budget makes Europe count in the world.
Enlargement and Neighbourhood policy
The EU is best placed to assist (potential) candidate countries to prepare for accession and to accompany neighbourhood countries' economies in aligning to EU rules and standards. Support for closer integration with our neighbours helps the EU to achieve its own objectives in a number of areas which are key to its own prosperity and security, as well as to economic recovery and sustainable growth, such as energy and network infrastructures, the protection of the environment and efforts to address climate change.
Enlargement policy yields tangible results in terms of growth and jobs creation everywhere in the EU, in old and new member states. Enlargement creates a win-win situation for the current and the possible future member states.
For instance, since the 2004 and 2007 EU enlargement (12 countries) approximately 150.000 new jobs have been created in Austria. Half of the Austrian export is now going to these new Member States. Austrian direct investment in Central and Eastern European countries corresponds to almost 50% of Austria's total direct investment abroad.
The accession perspective provides strong encouragement for political and economic reform in the countries which are the closest neighbours of the EU. Reforms in the area of rule of law, including judicial reform, and the fight against corruption and organised crime benefit not just the countries concerned but also the citizens and economic operators of the European Union. These reforms reinforce peace, stability and democracy in Europe and save the EU money which would otherwise have to be spent on crisis prevention, reinforced border controls and combating illegal immigration.
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was developed in 2004 to strengthen the prosperity, stability and security of both the EU and its neighbours. In order to enhance our partnership; we go beyond classical foreign policy to support reform and modernisation, based on the projection of our experiences beyond our borders. It covers a wider range of issues, like transport, energy, research, migration.
The use of innovative financial instruments was spearheaded in the Neighbourhood Region through the creation of the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF). The NIF is a blending instrument through which EU budget grants leverage IFI loans to provide assistance in support of the ENP objectives and its regional initiatives (Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the Eastern Partnership or the Black Sea Synergy). Since its inception in May 2008, the NIF has been funded with nearly €308 million grant resources (€245 million from the EU budget, €62.5 million from the Member States) and has approved grant contributions to 39 projects for a total amount of about €277 million, contributing to leverage over €5 billion loans from European Finance Institutions for a total investment cost exceeding €10 billion. The NIF has proven to be an effective tool for mobilizing extra support for ENP countries (East and South) and it has also helped promoting donor co-ordination in the Neighborhood region.