Schuman Associates at the Sector Seminar

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On 20 June, Schuman Associates moderated the EU Sector Seminar for External Aid organized by the Permanent Representation of France and Spain to the EU and ICEX – Spain Trade and Invest.

Panelist from DG DEVCO, DG NEAR, EEAS, EIB, AECID, AFD and SOS Sahel discussed the different modalities for private sector participation in EU External Aid actions.

The seminar gathered over 100 participants from across the EU Member States, which also had the opportunity tonetwork and to find potential partners during the B2B matchmaking session.

Key takeaways from the event

  1. EU and Member States remain the world's biggest development donor – €74.4 billion in 2018 (OECD-DAC figures).
  2. Global presence with EU Delegations as key actors on the ground: facilitating policy dialogue and dialogue with business. Delegations will also have a prominent role within Pillar 3 of the EU External Investment Plan to improve the business environment.
  3. Negotiations on next MFF 2021-2027 will transform considerably the funding architecture of EU External Aid. The budgetisation of the EDF being one of the most relevant novelties.
  4. New EU political mandate and new priorities will be reflected in the new funding instruments.
  5. New EU-ACP relations: Cotonou post 2020 negotiations have kicked off and will govern the new relationships between the EU and the ACP group of States.
  6. What will be the future of Western Balkans relations and Enlargement policy?
  7. Different management modalities of EU funding including blending (combination of EU grants with private sector loans). There are different entry points for business; different actors and rules which must be taken into account when planning business strategies: budget support, direct / indirect management, etc.
  8. Launch of new EU External Investment Plan which aims at increasing the role of private sector investment in third countries.
  9. EU- Multidonor partnerships with other IFIs such as World Bank, UN agencies, EIB, EBRD, African Development Bank and Member States agencies such as AECID, AFD, GIZ, etc. will remain a key for an effective delivery of EU external aid.

EU External Aid funding offers plenty of business opportunities. The funding landscape is complex with multiple funding instruments, actors and management modalities.

In Schuman Associates we believe that in order to successfully tap into these opportunities it is essential to:

  1. Understand both the policy and funding cycles.
  2. Produce early intelligence to elaborate efficient business strategies.
  3. Preposition well advance to gain competitive advantage vis a vis your competitors.
  4. Work with the right partners.
  5. Systematically monitor business leads.
  6. Have a proficient bid management team.


If you would like to discover funding opportunities for your business around EU External Aid funding do not hesitate to get in touch with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Schuman Associates is a Brussels-based, independent, consultancy with more than 30 years’ experience in European funding and public affairs.

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