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EU External Action under the German Presidency

On 1st July 2020 Germany took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. "Together for Europe's recovery" is the motto which will guide the work of this Presidency for the next six months aimed at overcoming the devasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In terms of EU external action the Presidency has highlighted key areas which will have important funding implications also taking into account the finalisation of the next MFF 2021-2027. Some of these topics are:

EU – Africa relations: The EU-AU summit scheduled for October 2020 will pave the way to endorse a new joint strategy. Africa remains a priority for the EU. In this sense, the Presidency will intensify efforts to reenergize and update current and new initiatives in the fields of peace and security, good governance, economic cooperation for sustainable development and employment, climate change and the energy transition, biodiversity, health and migration issues.

Western Balkans: the Presidency will continue the work on accession negotiations with Montenegro and Serbia and preparing the field to start negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. In this sense the future IPA III funding instrument will play a key role in supporting key reforms across these countries.

China: the Presidency is aims at making concrete progress in the negotiations on a bilateral investment agreement and on the issues of climate protection, biodiversity and global health. In trade relations, establishing a more level playing field in terms of opening up procurement markets in third countries will also be a key topic of support. 

In the broader Asian continent the EU-Asia connectivity strategy continues to play a key role. In this sense the Presidency is comitted to continue building on it as a framework for sustainable, smart and transparent energy, transport and digital networks. The EU External Investment Plan and other blending mechanisms will play a key role in terms of funding support across these areas.
Furthermore the Presidency also aims at working to develop a viable and coherent European development finance architecture in order to provide more effective development and cooperation and to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The new EU MFF and the novelties that it incorporates under the Neighbourhood and the World heading with a proposed budget of 110 BEUR (current prices subject to final approval by the colegislators) will be a powerful instrument to support these endavours.

In this sense some horizontal sectors such as digitalisation and the fight against climate change will receive substantial funding. According to the programme of the Presidency:

"Technology is increasingly influencing the struggle for global influence and is therefore becoming a crucial factor in international relations. For this reason, we want to initiate the set-up of a European digital diplomacy by creating a Digital Diplomacy Network. We also intend to exploit the opportunities of digital transformation even more intensively in our European development cooperation, for instance, by promoting digital skills and data-driven markets in Africa".
"To overcome the COVID-19 pandemic in the long term in a way that is climate friendly and environmentally viable, we therefore intend to work in a strategic and coordinated manner towards raising the climate goals worldwide in cooperation with our international partners, as set down in the Paris Agreement".

To find out more about concrete initiatives under the German Presidency related to EU External Action and how your business could benefit from EU funding programmes please do not hesitate to get in touch: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photo Source: Germany's presidency of the Council of the EU

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