The main conditions of eligibility for access to EU external assistance (including EDF) concern nationality and origin.  These conditions are usually laid down in the basic acts governing the assistance. When there is no basic act, the eligibility rules are those laid down in the Financial Regulation.

Rules on nationality and origin

The general rules on nationality and origin, as well as other eligibility criteria are listed in the Practical Guide to Contract Procedures for EU External Actions (PRAG), while the corresponding rules on nationality and origin for each basic act are listed in Annex 2 of the Practical guide.


Access to EU external assistance is generally open to all natural persons who are nationals of, or legal persons established in:

  • a Member State of the EU;
  • a Member State of the European Economic Area (EEA);
  • an official candidate country or potential candidate that is a beneficiary of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, depending on the basic act;
  • a country that is a direct beneficiary of the aid implemented through the corresponding basic act;
  • Developing countries and territories, (included in the OECD-DAC list of ODA recipients), which are not members of the G20 group
  • another third country, according to the derogations stated in the basic act;
  • another country covered by a European Commission decision establishing reciprocal access to external aid.

These procedures are also open to international organisations.

Origin of goods

The rule of origin states that all goods (supplies and materials) purchased under a contract financed under an EU instrument, including the EDF, must originate from the EU or from an eligible country.

For more details on the rule of origin (including exceptions, definitions of nationality and origin, scope and proof required), as well as on the nationality rule, please visit the general rules on nationality and origin, within the PRAG.

When considering the question of eligibility, it may also be useful to refer to the following sections within the PRAG:

  • Derogations to the rules on nationality and origin
  • Exclusion criteria
  • Regulatory penalties: administrative and financial penalties
  • Visibility.


  • The Practical Guide explains contracting procedures for EU external aid contracts financed by the EU general budget (Budget) and the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

    Consult PRAG

  • E-learning course on the Practical Guide. Do you want to know more about EU external action procedures? See our self-learning distance course on contractual procedures.

    e-Learning PRAG

  • e-Calls PROSPECT is the electronic system developed by EuropeAid to facilitate the submission of applications for call for proposals.

    e-Calls PROSPECT

  • Potential Applicant Data Online Registration database contains information on organisations applying for European Commission grants in the field of external assistance.

    e-Calls PADOR

  • Delegated Cooperation, Cooperation with partner countries and with international organisations, Co-financing and Management Modes.

    Consult DEVCO-Companion