European Development Fund (EDF)

European Development Fund (EDF)

Created in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome and launched in 1959, the European Development Fund (EDF) is the EU's main instrument for providing development aid to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and to overseas countries and territories (OCTs).

The EDF funds cooperation activities in the fields of economic development, social and human development as well as regional cooperation and integration.

It is financed by direct contributions from EU Member States according to a contribution key and is covered by its own financial rules. Although the 11th EDF remains outside of the EU budget, the negotiations in the Council of Ministers on the different elements of the 11th EDF have taken place in parallel with the negotiations of the external Instruments financed under the budget, to ensure consistency. The total financial resources of the 11th EDF amount to €30.5 billion for the period 2014-2020.

In the field of the external actions of the European Union, the applicable legislation is composed in particular by the international partnership agreement of Cotonou for the actions financed from the European Development Fund, by the basic regulations related to the different cooperation programmes adopted by the Council and the European Parliament, and by the financial regulations.

The 11th EDF was created by an intergovernmental agreement signed in June 2013 – as it is not part of the EU Budget – and entered into force on the 1st March 2015, after ratification by all Member States. In order to ensure continuity of funding for cooperation with ACPs and OCTs, a 'Bridging Facility' was set-up to cover the period between the end of the 10th EDF (December 2013) and the start of the 11th EDF (March 2015). This 'Bridging Facility' seized to exist when the 11th EDF entered into force.

There are only minor modifications in the 11th EDF compared to the 10th EDF. Mainly, Member States' contributions keys to the Fund are further aligned with the keys used for the EU budget. Furthermore, it aims to ensure more flexibility and fast reaction in case of unexpected events. Regional funding also includes allocations to cover unforeseen needs with a regional dimension and a new shock-absorbing scheme is set up to help ACP countries to mitigate the short-term effects of exogenous shocks such as economic crisis or natural disaster.

LEGAL bases of the EDF and Cotonou Agreement

The EDF is established within the framework of an international agreement between the EU and its partner countries. This ACP-EU Partnership Agreement – also known as the ‘Cotonou Agreement’ – was concluded in 2000 and is revised every five years.

The EDF is implemented along the provisions agreed by Member States.

Summary of EU legislation - EDF

Financial and implementation regulations

Directly financed by EU Member States, the EDF is implemented according to its own financial and implementation regulation along with the MFF (Multi-annual financial framework).

Financial provisions and regulations


A specific set of rules governs contracts financed from EDF resources, which are similar to the ones used for the instruments under the EU budget. They are also included in the Practical Guide applicable to contract procedures for EU external actions.



  • 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