Directorate-General for International Partnerships

European Commission department
This article is part of a series on
Flag of Europe.svg

Treaties of accession

Treaties of succession

Other treaties

Abandoned treaties and agreements
Judicial institutions
Other bodies
European Investment Bank Group

European Stability Mechanism

European University Institute

Unified Patent Court

Other independent bodies

Inter-institutional bodies

Foreign relations of EU member states

flag European Union portal
  • v
  • t
  • e

The Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG International Partnerships or DG INTPA) is the European Commission department responsible for international development policy.[1] It operates under the authority of the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen.[2]

The European Commission disbursed 14.4 billion euros in official development assistance (ODA) in 2021[3] (0.21% of EU GNI).[4] This was slightly above the 13.7 billion disbursed by the development ministry of Germany, the EU's biggest ODA donor.[5] As a whole, the EU and its member states provided ODA of 70.2 billion euros (0.49% of EU GNI, below the 0.7% target).[6] The EU has a strong preference for bilateral financing (provision of aid to recipient governments, as opposed to NGOs), with 99% of EUI (DG INTPA + EIB) funds going to partner country governments.[7]


The Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid was formed on 1 January 2011 following the merger of the EuropeAid Cooperation Office (AIDCO) with the Directorate-General for Development and Relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific States (DEV).[8][9] AIDCO had been founded on 1 January 2001 with the mission of implementing the EU external aid programmes around the world.[10] At that time, DG DEV and the Directorate-General for External Relations (RELEX) were responsible for policy and programming.

Following the creation of EuropeAid in 2011, Director-General Fokion Fotiadis[11] was responsible for the overall realisation of the DG's mission, which consists in the programming and implementation of the European Commission's external aid instruments[10] financed by the European Union budget and the European Development Funds. In November 2013, Fernando Frutuoso de Melo succeeded Fokion Fotiadis as Director-General of the Directorate-General.

EuropeAid focused on maximising the value and impact of aid funding by making sure support was provided in a manner which complied with EU development objectives and the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals in a speedy and accountable fashion.[12] Effective implementation and delivery of aid also helps the Commission and the EU as a whole to attain a higher profile on the world stage. The European Union is the world's largest development aid donor.[13]

DG Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid was reformed into current form on 1 January 2015. As of 16 January 2021, the DG International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) became DG International Partnerships (INTPA).[14]

Development policy

DG International Partnerships formulates the European Union's development policy abroad. Its mission is to help reduce and ultimately eradicate poverty in developing countries through the promotion of sustainable development, democracy, peace and security.[15]

It works on policy formulation at a global and sectoral level. The main intervention areas covered are: trade and regional integration, environment and the sustainable management of natural resources, infrastructure, communications and transport, water and energy, rural development, governance, democracy and human rights, peace and security, human development, social cohesion and employment.[16] EU development action is based on the European Consensus on Development, which was endorsed on 20 December 2005 by EU Member States, the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission.[17]

From policy to action

When implementing projects, it takes account of EU policy strategies and long-term programmes for the delivery of aid. It translates policies into practical actions and develops new ways of delivering aid, such as budget support[18] and through sectoral approaches.[19] It also issues guidelines and makes evaluations[20] of aid implementation. In addition, it is responsible for the proper management of funds and must use clear and transparent tendering and contracting procedures. The programming cycle and responsibilities have evolved with the creation of the European External Action Service EEAS.[21] The EEAS has a key role in the programming of geographic instruments with EuropeAid and the EU Delegations.[22]

Directorate-General is responsible for all the steps of an aid delivery project:[23] after identifying needs, it carries out feasibility studies and prepares all the necessary financial decisions and controls. It then moves on to drawing up the required tendering, monitoring and evaluation procedures. EuropeAid often publishes these evaluations in its website, aiming to improve management, in particular by taking into account the lessons of past public actions and to reinforce capacity to account for, and to ensure, better transparency.

This institution is a decentralised organisation. Two out of three Commission staff members working on aid implementation are based in the field. That is why most of the preparatory and implementation work is done through the EU Delegations[24] in the beneficiary countries. Directorate-General is made up of more than 43 units divided into nine directorates [25] attached to the Director General.

Promoting joint effort

To ensure coherence, complementarity and coordination in implementing external assistance programmes worldwide, DG INTPA works in close collaboration with its various partners.[26] The overall aim is to make external aid more effective.[27] Civil society, international organisations and governments of member states of the European Union are all important actors in this field.


Directorate-General awards grants and contracts to implement projects or activities that relate to the European Union's external aid programmes. To ensure that EuropeAid's work to improve people's lives is recognised, a set of visibility guidelines[28] have been produced. These guidelines ensure that aid projects acknowledge the funding support they receive from Commission budgets. They also help to raise the general profile of the EU across the world.

Development aid is financed directly by the EU budget (70%) as part of the financial instruments for external action and also by the European Development Fund (EDF) (30%).[29] The EU's external action financing is divided into 'geographic' and 'thematic' instruments.[29] The 'geographic' instruments provide aid through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI, €16.9 billion, 2007–2013), which must spend 95% of its budget on official development assistance (ODA), and from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which contains some relevant programmes.[29] According to the OECD, 2020 official development assistance from EU institutions increased by 25.4% to US$19.4 billion.[30] The EDF (€22.7 bn, 2008–2013) is made up of voluntary contributions by EU Member States. There is currently a debate on whether to 'budgetise' the EDF.[29] The perceived advantages include:[29]

  • contributions would be based on GNI and this may increase the currently voluntary contributions
  • the harmonisation of EU budget and EDF administration might decrease administration costs and increase aid effectiveness
  • an all-Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific countries geographic strategy is no longer relevant as programmes are more localised to regions or country-level
  • there would be increase democratic control and parliamentary scrutiny

The perceived disadvantages are that:[29]

  • 90% of EDF resources reach low-income countries as opposed to less than 40% of aid from the EU budget development instruments
  • a loss of aid predictability and aid quality as the EU budget is annual, unlike the 6-year budget of the EDF

See also


  1. ^ "Directorate-General for International Partnerships (INTPA) - EU monitor". Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  2. ^ "Neven Mimica". European Commission. September 1, 2015.
  3. ^ "Donors". Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  4. ^ 14.43/70.201, the latter number taken from
  5. ^ "Germany met international financing target for development cooperation in 2021". Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  6. ^ "Press corner". European Commission - European Commission. Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  7. ^ "EU". Donor Tracker. Retrieved 2022-11-19.
  8. ^ "Commission further reshuffles its Senior Managers after the first package decided by this College in June". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
  9. ^ "Annual activity reports". European Commission – European Commission.
  10. ^ a b "The EU's financial toolkit". Archived from the original on 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  11. ^ "EuropeAid's Director General - My goal: delivering more, better and faster aid". Archived from the original on 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  12. ^ "Guaranteeing the best possible aid". Archived from the original on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  13. ^ "International development aid".
  14. ^ "DG International Cooperation and Development becomes DG International Partnerships | International Partnerships".
  15. ^ "Development Policies". Archived from the original on 2011-08-25. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
  16. ^ "Intervention areas". Archived from the original on 2011-08-31. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
  17. ^ "The European Consensus on Development". Archived from the original on 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
  18. ^ "How the Commission provides budget support". Archived from the original on 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  19. ^ "A sector approach to working with developing countries". Archived from the original on 2009-01-08. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  20. ^ "How we ensure quality". Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  21. ^ van Seters, J. and H. Klavert. 2011. EU development cooperation after the Lisbon Treaty: People, institutions and global trends.[permanent dead link] (Discussion Paper 123). Maastricht: ECDPM. [also available in French]
  22. ^ Görtz, S. and N. Keijzer. 2012. Reprogramming EU development cooperation for 2014–2020 – Key moments for partner countries, EU Delegations, member states and headquarters in 2012.[permanent dead link] (ECDPM Discussion Paper 129)
  23. ^ "How we work". Archived from the original on 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  24. ^ "External Service – delegations' websites". May 27, 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-05-27.
  25. ^ "Directorate General for Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  26. ^ "Partners in development". Archived from the original on 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  27. ^ "Fostering aid effectiveness". Archived from the original on 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  28. ^ "Communication and Visibility Manual for EU External Actions". Archived from the original on 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  29. ^ a b c d e f Mikaela Gavas 2010. Financing European development cooperation: the Financial Perspectives 2014–2020. Archived 2011-03-16 at the Wayback Machine London: Overseas Development Institute
  30. ^ "European Union institutions | Development Co-operation Profiles – European Union institutions | OECD iLibrary".

External links

  • DG INTPA - DG for International Partnerships
  • Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid
  • Organisational Structure
  • EuropeAid Partners
  • EuropeAid Funding Page
  • Financing Instruments
  • European Development Fund
  • EuropeAid Visibility Guidelines
  • Excerpt from an EU promotion video on Global Assistance (development aid)
  • European Union Delegations
  • DG Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)
  • ACP Programming
  • Millennium Development Goals
  • Commissioner Andris Pielbags
  • Commissioner Štefan Füle
  • Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton
  • European External Action Service (EEAS)
  • v
  • t
  • e
Civil Service
European flag outside the Commission.jpg
Policy DGs
External DGs
General Services
Internal Services
  • flag European Union portal
  • flag Belgium portal
  • v
  • t
  • e
Bilateral relations
  • †= Disputed state, may not be recognised as an independent state by some or all European Union members.
Multilateral relations and initiatives
Administration and policies
Foreign and Security Policy
  • v
  • t
  • e
External Action Service
Council preparatory bodies
European Commission bodies
  • v
  • t
  • e
Union level
Provided through
TEU Article 42.3
  • v
  • t
  • e
Military operations
[Ground] force (EUFOR)
Naval force (EUNAVFOR)
Military missions
Military assistance mission (MAM), Training mission (EUTM)
Civilian missions
Police mission (EUPOL, EUPM)
Capacity building mission (EUCAP)
Border assistance mission (EUBAM)
Rule of law mission (EULEX)
Monitoring mission (EUMM)
Military advisory mission (EUMAM)
  • RCA (2015–2016)
Aviation security mission (EUAVSEC)
  • South Sudan (2013–2014)
Mission in support of the
security sector reform (EUSSR)
  • Guinea-Bissau (2008–2010)
Integrated rule of law mission (EUJUST)
  • Iraq (2015–2013)
  • Georgia (2004–2005)
Mission to provide advice and assistance
for security sector reform (EUSEC)
  • RD Congo (2005–2016)
Advisory mission (EUAM)
  • Ukraine (2014–present)
  • Iraq (2017–present)
Police advisory team (EUPAT)
  • FYROM (2005–2006)
  • AMIS EU Supporting Action (2005–2007)
  • PAMECA (2002–present)
  • Minesweeping operation in the Strait of Hormuz, (Operation Cleansweep, 1987–1988)
  • Police and customs operation with OSCE on the Danube (1993–1996)
  • Police contingent in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (1994–1996)
  • Multinational Advisory Police Element in Albania (MAPE, 1997–2001)
  • Demining Assistance Mission to Croatia (WEUDAM, 1999–2001)
  • General security surveillance mission in Kosovo (1998–1999)
  • European Union Monitoring Capacity to Armenia (2022–present)
1: Conducted by the Western European Union prior to 2003. These missions were not named using conventional prefixes such as EUFOR, EUNAVFOR etc.
  • v
  • t
  • e
Western Union (1948–1951/1954) Flag of the Western Union.svg
European Defence Community (plan that failed in 1954)
Western European Union (1954–2011) Flag of the Western European Union (1993-1995).svg Flag of the Western European Union.svg
European Union (1992–present) Flag of Europe.svg
Period before the union had defence structures (1993–1999)
European Security and Defence Policy (1999–2009)
Common Security and Defence Policy (2009–present)
  • v
  • t
  • e
Militaries of the European Union
Austrian Armed Forces

Map of Southeast Asia
Belgian Armed Forces
Bulgarian Armed Forces
Armed Forces of Croatia
Cypriot National Guard
Army of the Czech Republic
Danish Defence
Estonian Defence Forces
Finnish Defence Forces
French Armed Forces
Hellenic Armed Forces
Hungarian Defence Forces
Irish Defence Forces
Italian Armed Forces
Latvian National Armed Forces
Lithuanian Armed Forces
Luxembourg Army
Armed Forces of Malta
Netherlands Armed Forces
Polish Armed Forces
Portuguese Armed Forces
Romanian Armed Forces
Slovak Armed Forces
Slovenian Armed Forces
Spanish Armed Forces
Swedish Armed Forces
EU member states
Austria Austria
Belgium Belgium
Bulgaria Bulgaria
Croatia Croatia
Cyprus Cyprus
Czech Republic Czech Republic
Denmark Denmark
Estonia Estonia
Finland Finland
France France
Germany Germany
Greece Greece
Hungary Hungary
Republic of Ireland Ireland
Italy Italy
Latvia Latvia
Lithuania Lithuania
Luxembourg Luxembourg
Malta Malta
Netherlands Netherlands
Poland Poland
Portugal Portugal
Romania Romania
Slovakia Slovakia
Slovenia Slovenia
Spain Spain
Sweden Sweden
European Union portal · War portal