14 June, 2016

Return on Investment? Necessary reforms of EU Funding Mechanisms as Instruments of Foreign Policy

The EU invests significant resources to support its foreign policy, promote respect for common values in neighbourhood countries, provide aid for crisis zones and alleviate famine and poverty.

For 2014-2020, the European Neighbourhood Instrument has a budget of €15.4 billion, with similar amounts spent in previous years.

However, serious concerns are raised as to the effectiveness of EU spending in these policy areas and its implications both for neighbouring countries and for European taxpayers.

To discuss these matters we invited a panel which brings together experts from different areas of competence: Parliament, Commission, European Court of Auditors and various think-tanks:

  • Mr. Antonio Tajani, vice-president of the European Parliament
  • Mr. Klaus-Heiner Lehne, member of the European Court of Auditors
  • Ms. Isabelle Combes, Deputy Chief of Unit, Financing assistance: policy and strategy, DG NEAR
  • Mr. Serge Stroobants, Head of the Brussels office of the Institute for Economics and Peace
  • Mr. Alessandro Niglia, Senior Program Officer, Atlantic Treaty Association
  • Mr. Gilad Segal, EU Affairs Liaison, NGO Monitor

Through various case studies, the panel will address this important subject from two aspects:

  • the aspect of foreign policy – are EU current practices the right approach to a radicalising neighbourhood? How can the EP ensure consistency with its declared goals?
  • and the budgetary control aspect – is the funding allocated and managed properly, efficiently, and in line with the EU goals? Can the return on investment be improved?

The discussion will offer recommendations to help developing best practices, and perhaps to reform Commission’s allocation of resources. In addition, it will enable better and closer scrutiny by the European Parliament on the topic.