European Union institutions

The European Union (EU) – EU institutions and its member states together – continues to account for the largest share of total ODA (the DAC EU member states collectively provided USD 84.5 billion in 2019) and has a development co-operation presence in all regions and across all sectors. The EU institutions by themselves (i.e. without EU member states) ranked fifth amongst DAC members by volume. Among the EU institutions, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) manage funding, and the European External Action Service co-ordinates foreign policy. The EU institutions also mobilise significant amounts of private finance.

The 2018 OECD-DAC peer review praised the European Union’s strong leadership in mobilising global efforts for sustainable development, the fight against climate change and humanitarian action. In addition to the EU’s global leadership, the peer review commended efforts to raise EU citizens’ awareness of global issues. It highlighted the EU’s contributions to development effectiveness, but recommended further upholding ownership and alignment in joint programming and in new instruments such as emergency trust funds and the External Investment Plan. The review also recommended a greater focus of allocations to least developed countries (LDCs). Learn more about the 2018 OECD-DAC peer review of the European Union.

In 2017, the EU and its member states adopted the New European Consensus for Development. The Consensus provides the EU with a common strategic vision, with a focus on poverty reduction and contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The EU institutions are active across all regions and sectors. The European Commission that took office after the 2019 European elections aims to be “geopolitical”, better aligning external and internal policies. Its priorities will be a new comprehensive strategy with Africa, partnerships with the European neighbourhood, contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, partnerships around migration, gender equality, supporting civil society and promoting the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

The EU institutions provided less official development assistance (ODA) in 2019 compared to 2018. Total ODA on a grant-equivalent basis stood at USD 14.8 billion (preliminary data).1 The fall of 6.1% in real terms from 2018 was due to a lower volume of lending. The EU institutions alone ranked fifth among DAC members, in relation to their ODA volume in 2019. The EU institutions and its member states have committed to collectively achieve a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio by 2030. Under the cash-flow methodology used in the past, net ODA was USD 15.2 billion in 2019. Within the EU institutions’ gross ODA portfolio in 2019 (USD 18 billion), 81.3% was provided in the form of grants and 18.7% in the form of non-grants.2 See the methodological notes for details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied.

The EU institutions’ ODA volumes have decreased since a peak in 2016. The EU institutions provide almost exclusively bilateral aid, although a fifth of this is earmarked support through other multilateral institutions. In 2018, the largest share of the EU institutions’ bilateral ODA was allocated to upper middle-income countries. In volume, the EU institutions is the second-largest ODA provider to gender equality and aid for trade.

In 2018, collectively the EU member states provided 0.47% of ODA as a share of gross national income (GNI) (USD 87.6 billion). They also committed to collectively reach by 2030 a 0.2% ODA/GNI ratio of allocations to the LDCs. In 2018, 0.12% of ODA/GNI provided collectively by its member states was allocated to LDCs.3

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

In 2018, the EU institutions provided almost all ODA bilaterally. Gross bilateral ODA was 98% of total ODA, of which 20% was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). The EU institutions allocated 2% of total ODA as core or voluntary contributions to multilateral organisations.

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

In 2018, the EU institutions increased their total support (core, voluntary and earmarked contributions) to multilateral organisations. They provided USD 4.3 billion of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 3.8% in real terms from 2017. Of this, USD 359 million was core or voluntary multilateral ODA and the rest was earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project aid earmarked for a specific project or purpose (tight earmarking) accounted for 83% of the EU institutions’ non-core contributions, while the remaining 17% was softly earmarked (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

In 2018, the EU Institutions’ total contribution to multilateral organisations was mainly allocated to the United Nations (UN), the World Bank Group and regional development banks. These contributions together accounted for 73% of the EU Institutions’ total support to the multilateral system. The UN system received 54%, mainly through earmarked contributions. Out of a total gross volume of USD 2.3 billion to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of the EU institutions’ support (earmarked contributions) were: the United Nations Development Programme (USD 453 million), the World Food Programme (USD 343 million) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (USD 265 million).

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!
Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

Note: See the list of UN acronyms.

See the section on “Geographic and thematic focus of ODA” for the geographical and thematic breakdown of bilateral allocations earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2018, the EU institutions decreased slightly bilateral spending compared to the previous year. They provided USD 19.7 billion as gross bilateral ODA (including earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations), which represented a decrease of 0.9% in real terms from 2017.

In 2018, country programmable aid was 54% of the EU institutions’ gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 49% (excluding the EU institutions).

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

Note: NGO: non-governmental organisation.

In 2018, the EU institutions channelled their bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector and multilateral organisations, as earmarked funding.

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

Note: NGO: non-governmental organisation; PPP: public-private partnership.

In 2018, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 2 billion of gross bilateral ODA. Of the EU institutions’ gross bilateral ODA, 0.1% was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 11% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the EU institutions (earmarked funding). Between 2017 and 2018, core and earmarked contributions to CSOs increased slightly as a share of bilateral ODA, from 10% to 11%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and civil society engagement in development co-operation.

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

In 2018, the EU institutions’ bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa, Europe and Asia. USD 7.3 billion was allocated to Africa, accounting for 37% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 4.4 billion was allocated to ODA-eligible countries in Europe and USD 4.2 billion to Asia. Africa was also the main regional recipient of the EU institutions’ earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations. Eleven per cent of gross bilateral ODA was unspecified by region in 2018.

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!
Bilateral ODA by recipient country

In 2018, 30% of gross bilateral ODA went to the EU institutions’ top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients are mainly its Eastern and Southern neighbourhood, the top recipient being Turkey. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 24%.

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!
Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

In 2018, the LDCs received 23.7% of the EU institutions’ gross bilateral ODA (USD 4.7 billion). This is in line with the DAC country average of 23.8% (excluding the EU institutions). The EU institutions allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (26%) to upper middle-income countries in 2018, noting that 24% was unallocated by income group. Within bilateral ODA that was unallocated, the EU institutions estimate that 35% was directed to the LDCs. The EU institutions allocated 2.5% of gross bilateral ODA to small island developing states in 2018, equal to USD 489 million.

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

Note: LDC: least developed country; LIC: low-income country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country; MADCTs: more advanced developing countries and territories.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 6.9 billion of gross bilateral ODA in 2018 (35.1% of gross bilateral ODA). Extremely fragile contexts received 46.6% of this amount. Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

Note: The chart represents only gross bilateral ODA that is allocated by country.

In 2018, most of the EU institutions’ bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 35% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 8.1 billion), with a strong focus on support to government and civil society (USD 3.8 billion) and education (USD 1.7 billion). ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled USD 5.8 billion, with a focus on transport and storage (USD 2.2 billion); energy and financial services each amounted to USD 1.6 billion. Bilateral humanitarian aid amounted to USD 2.0 billion (9% of bilateral ODA). Earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations also focused primarily on social infrastructure and services and economic infrastructure and services in 2018.

In 2018, the EU institutions committed USD 53.6 million of ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, amounting to 0.3% of bilateral allocable aid. The EU institutions also committed USD 8.2 billion (38.3% of bilateral allocable aid) in 2018 to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy – the EU institutions were among the top 5 providers of aid for trade globally.

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!
Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

In 2018, the EU institutions committed 63% of their bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment as either a principal or significant objective (up from 50% in 2017),4 compared with the DAC country average of 42%. This is equal to USD 10.4 billion of bilateral ODA in support of gender equality. Out of this, the share of bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 4%, equal to the DAC country average of 4%. A significantly higher share of interventions on social infrastructure and services addresses gender equality than those on economic infrastructure and water and sanitation. The EU institutions screen most activities against the gender marker (77.5% in 2018). Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

In 2018, the EU institutions committed 31% of their bilateral allocable aid (USD 6.6 billion) in support of the environment as either a principal or significant objective, slightly up from 30% in 2017 (the DAC country average was 33%). Thirteen per cent focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC country average of 11%. Twenty-six per cent (USD 5.6 billion) focused on climate change as either a principal or significant objective, with no change from 2017 (the DAC country average was also 26%). The EU institutions have a greater focus on adaptation (22% in 2018) than on mitigation (17%). Learn more about climate-related development finance.

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

Data analysis for the OECD initiative Sustainable Oceans for All shows that the EU institutions committed USD 323 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in 2018, amounting to 1.6% of bilateral allocable aid. Learn more about ODA focused on the ocean economy.

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

In 2018, the European Commission (EC), the European Development Fund (EDF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) together mobilised USD 3.4 billion from the private sector through credit lines, shares in collective investment vehicles (CIVs), simple co-financing arrangements, and direct investment in companies or project finance special purpose vehicles (SPVs).

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

Note: CIV: collective investment vehicle; SPV: special purpose vehicle.

Of the country-allocable finance mobilised from the private sector in 2017-18, 98% targeted middle-income countries and 2% the LDCs.

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

Note: LDC: least developed country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country; MADCTs: more advanced developing countries and territories.

The EU institutions’ private finance mobilised in 2017-18 mainly related to activities in the banking and finance services (61%); energy (20%); and industry, mining and construction (8%) sectors. Learn more about the amounts mobilised from the private sector for development.

The EU institutions comprise two main actors: the European Commission (responsible for managing the majority of funds) and the European Investment Bank (EIB). Within the Commission, the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) is in charge of formulating overall EU international co-operation and development policy, and covers co-operation with sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean. The Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) manages co-operation with EU neighbours to the east and south. The Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) is responsible for humanitarian assistance. The EIB operates both with own resources and through specific Commission mandates with EU development funds. In addition, discussions on the possible creation of a European Development Bank are ongoing. The European External Action Service (EEAS) co-ordinates the EU’s foreign policy, participates in co-operation programming and manages the EU delegations. In order to co-ordinate their actions, all EU institutions as well as EU member states have signed “The New European Consensus on Development” and are working together as “Team Europe”.

Share
Embed code for this view
Copy code
Code copied!

The Evaluation and Results Unit under the DG DEVCO is in charge of the evaluation of the EU’s co-operation and development programmes in third countries, with the exception of enlargement candidate countries, neighbourhood countries and humanitarian aid. The unit manages centralised geographical and thematic evaluation, as well as evaluations of instruments, which are conducted by external evaluators. Programme and project evaluations are decentralised, but are supported and co-ordinated by the Evaluation and Results Unit. Read more about the EU’s evaluation system.

Visit the DAC Evaluation Resource Centre website for evaluations of EU development co-operation.

Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

2018 OECD-DAC peer review of the European Union: www.oecd.org/dac/oecd-development-co-operation-peer-reviews-european-union-2018-9789264309494-en.htm

European Commission, International Cooperation and Development: https://ec.europa.eu/international-partnerships

European Commission, European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations: https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/node_en

European Commission, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations: https://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en

European External Action Service: https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage_en

European Investment Bank (EIB): https://www.eib.org/en/index.htm

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1961.

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including the grant-equivalent methodology, core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, country programmable aid, channels of delivery, bilateral ODA unspecified/unallocated, bilateral allocable aid, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.

← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the provider’s effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. All 2019 statistics in this paragraph are expressed in current prices and, therefore, they may differ from values in the ODA volume chart, which uses constant prices. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

← 3. For the purposes of ODA reporting, most of the EU institutions’ ODA spending is imputed to EU member states, i.e. Member States’ multilateral aid data as well as all information including these data (such as the aid share to the LDCs) include part of the EU institutions’ spending. The ODA provided through the European Investment Bank’s own resources is not imputed to Member States and is additional to Member States’ ODA.

← 4. The use of the recommended minimum criteria for the marker by some members in recent years can result in lower levels of aid reported as being focused on gender equality.

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

https://doi.org/10.1787/2dcf1367-en

© OECD 2020

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at http://www.oecd.org/termsandconditions.