Programming process : geographic and thematic programmes

Programming process : geographic and thematic programmes

Geographic programming

The main output from the geographic programming process are multi-annual country and regional programming documents. Depending on the programming period and the groups of countries, programming documents may take different names. These documents set out the priority sectors and areas for EU support and the related financial allocations available for each partner country/region. They take into account partner country’s/region’s needs, constraints and opportunities while making sure that EU support is in line with EU's policies and fundamental principles.

For the programming period 2014-2020, the EU aims to translate into action more than ever its approach, as defined in the Commission’s 2011 Communication on the Agenda for Change, to proceed on the basis of the developing countries’ and regions’ own development policies and plans and align as much as possible on their priorities.

This is the policy which forms the basis for the programming process for the EU cooperation with developing countries for this period and is laid down in the administrative Programming Instructions issued in May 2012, which are available below.

In relation to the specific group of countries which form the European Neighbourhood, the policies and the programming are characterized by the additional dimension which aims to help these countries connect and align with EU policies, systems and rules. This is given form through association agreements with each of these countries, implemented through Action Plans.

The Programming Instructions, issued in May 2012 to the multiple services in Headquarters and EU Delegations in the field, for the period 2014-2020 for the assistance to the countries and regions governed by the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) - Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Latin America and South Africa - and for the assistance to the countries and regions governed by the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) – the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries can be found under the following link:
The Programming Instructions for the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) for the period 2014-2020 were issued on 9th July 2012. These follow a similar approach and format as the ones for DCI and 11th EDF while taking into account the specificities of the European Neighbourhood relationships and processes and can be found under the following link:

Thematic programmes

Supplementary to geographic programming, the EU also operates programmes with a specific thematic focus and entry point. They are programmed by Headquarters through Thematic multi-annual indicative programmes.

Quality System

EuropeAid has developed a quality support mechanism which aims to ensure the necessary quality of the programming documents. This mechanism is the programming Quality Support Group (pQSG).

The pQSG intervenes soon after the programming documents have been drafted and provides its assessment and recommendations on the documents before these are submitted for the internal decision making and approval process.