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Global Europe, the most innovative instrument for External Action

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Paola Votta

Paola Votta

Third Countries Knowledge Area Leader

Recent events affecting the world show that Europe faces challenges and opportunities in an increasingly complex and interconnected scenario. Prosperity and peace in the European Union’s neighbourhood are crucial to Europe’s own stability and security.

For the first time in fifty years of development policy, all external financing instruments are simplified into a single instrument that is better aligned with emerging needs and the European Commission’s political and economic priorities.

Global Europe and IPA III

For the period 2021-2027, the EU budget will allocate 110,597 million euros for External Action. The main instruments through which these funds will be implemented are two: the Neighbourhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), also called Global Europe, and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III).

The combination of the two instruments multiplies the size of the EU budget for external cooperation and modernizes coordination with the EU’s internal policies, giving it the flexibility, it needs to respond more quickly to new crises and challenges. In short, we have more money, we have simplified processes and we are more flexible and faster.

Global Europe and IPA III are complemented by other budget lines such as Humanitarian Aid (11,569 million euros), the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP, 6,679 million euros), the Overseas Countries and Territories Instrument (500 million euros) and the European Nuclear Safety Instrument (300 million euros).

Global Europe, cooperation with third countries

Global Europe has been endowed with 79,462 million euros for the period 2021-2027 and aims to defend and promote the EU’s values and interests worldwide, help it address the evolving international landscape and fulfil its international commitments by acting globally and across thematic areas.

With the launch of Global Europe, the Commission has managed to streamline, simplify, and merge the 7 external action financing instruments that were in place in the previous period (European Development Fund, External Action Guarantee Fund, Neighbourhood Instrument, Cooperation and Development Instrument; Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, Instrument for Stability and Peace, and Partnership Instrument for cooperation with third countries).

The architecture of Global Europe

Global Europe rests on three pillars that seek to ensure that all funded actions do not address only one problem in isolation but respond to several objectives at the same time and are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

One fifth of the funding will address social inclusion, inequalities, and human development, including gender equality, education and women’s empowerment.

In addition, the instrument will specifically address good governance, democracy and human rights, climate change, and migration and mobility. This is a new opportunity for Zabala Innovation and its clients, as innovation is presented as a cross-cutting pillar in the different types of projects that seek to promote multilateral efforts at the global level and that contribute to the EU meeting its commitments on a global scale.

Actions linked to the SDGs and the Paris Agreements will be funded, with 30% of the total funding going towards achieving climate goals. The program also dedicates a line item to rapid response capacity for crisis management, conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

Special priority will be given to countries most in need, in specific the least developed, low-income or fragile states.

The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III)

The new Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance for the Western Balkan countries and Turkey has a budget of 14,162 million euros for 2021-2027. The objective of the Instrument is to prepare the beneficiary countries for their future membership of the European Union and to support their accession process. The rules and procedures for implementing the instrument will be in accordance with the common implementing rules for external action of the Union, set out in the “Global Europe” Regulation.

There are many opportunities that Zabala Innovation and its clients are taking advantage of in IPA III recipient countries (1). These are projects and tenders that are committed to the development of R&D&I in the different countries and that prioritize European experience and the capacity of companies and institutions to promote cooperation between countries.

Through the “Team Europe” approach, the name given to the joint support of the EU, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to third countries, initiatives are being sought with the Member States at national and regional level in which actions financed by the EU and the Member States can have a transformative impact.

And this new instrument sets out a new geopolitical dialogue that ensures that the EU, through the European Neighbourhood Policy, will continue to work with its partners to promote stability, security, and prosperity in Europe and third countries.


[1] The IPA III recipient countries are: Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Kosovo (this designation is without prejudice to positions on its status and is in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1244/1999 and the opinion of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo’s declaration of independence), Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Republic of Serbia, Republic of Turkey.  


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Paola Votta
Paola Votta

Valencia Office

Third Countries Knowledge Area Leader

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