The European Union (EU) promotes a joined-up approach, bringing together all available instruments from the EU and its Member States to work towards a more peaceful and prosperous world. In 2017, Europe and the world continued to be confronted with significant challenges. The EU responded comprehensively, using the entire breadth of its policies and tools, spanning diplomatic, security, financial, trade, development actions, and humanitarian aid.
During 2017, full implementation of the EU Global Strategy (EUGS) on foreign and security policy started. The EUGS sets out EU core interests and principles for engagement and provides a vision for a more credible, responsible and responsive EU in the world. The EU continued to tackle existing high levels of vulnerability due to humanitarian crisis, drought and insecurity, funding operations for more than EUR 2.2 billion in over 90 countries outside the EU. The EU and its Member States are the largest donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA), providing more than half of ODA globally. In 2017, the European Commission alone disbursed EUR 13.34 billion in ODA.
In June 2017, the new European Consensus on Development was signed in a Joint Statement by the Maltese Presidency, on behalf of the Council and Member States, the Parliament, the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The new Consensus is the EU’s response to global trends and challenges in international cooperation and development. Structured around the ‘5 Ps’ framing the 2030 Agenda (People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership), the Consensus puts forward a balanced and integrated approach to the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
In 2017, the EU’s ambitious External Investment Plan (EIP) started implementation, following the entry into force of the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) regulation in September. With an input of EUR 4.1 billion (EUR 2.6 billion for blending and EUR 1.5 billion for guarantees) it aims to mobilise a total investment of EUR 44 billion in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood with five ‘Investment Windows’ covering: Sustainable Energy and Connectivity; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Financing; Sustainable Agriculture, Rural Entrepreneurs and Agroindustry; Sustainable Cities; and Digital for Development.
In 2017, the Commission continued promoting Policy Coherence for Development (PCD), including embedding it in the European Consensus on Development, and highlighted its important contribution to achieving the SDGs. PCD requires the EU to take account of development cooperation objectives in all policy implementations that are likely to affect developing countries.