Support to elections takes the form of electoral assistance projects and EU election observation missions. These are independent but complementary activities implemented through different financial instruments (geographic funds for the electoral assistance and centrally managed EIDHR funds for the observation missions).
Election assistance may be defined as the technical or material support given to the electoral process. It may imply professional help to establish a legal framework for the elections. It may also take the form of a general input to the national electoral body, such as providing voting material and equipment, or helping in the registration of political parties and the registration of voters. It may also imply support to NGOs and civil society in areas such as voter and civic education or training of local observers, as well as support to the media monitoring and training of journalists.
Election observation is the political complement to election assistance. Its main goals are the legitimisation of an electoral process, where appropriate, and the enhancement of public confidence in the electoral process, to deter fraud, to strengthen respect for human rights, and to contribute to the resolution of conflict. EU election observation involves the assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of an electoral process and the presentation of recommendations that will provide an important basis for deciding on further assistance after the elections.