The Office of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) to the European Union, the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD), and the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP) welcome the publishing by the European Commission of its detailed proposal for establishing the ‘Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI)’ of the next EU budget, which covers the majority of spending beyond EU borders.
As democracy support actors, we are encouraged by the importance the European Commission attaches to the European Union’s external action. We view the proposed Euro 123 billion for the NDICI, including the increase of funding for the democracy and human rights programme, in a positive light. Based on our previous Joint Statement on, ‘The importance of democracy and democracy support in the EU Multi-annual financial framework (MFF 2021-2027)’, of 23 May 2018, we acknowledge that the NDICI proposal has certain distinct advantages. However, the proposed regulation in its current version lacks detail in many areas to make a comprehensive analysis of its impact on democracy and democracy support.
As actors in democracy support and partners of the EU, we would therefore like to make the following recommendations in relation to democratisation and external democracy support in the proposed NDICI:
- Include democracy support as one of the top EU priorities.
- Follow an inclusive approach for the implementation of democracy support programmes.
- Ensure a clearly defined and comprehensive articulation of the scope of democracy support.
- Ensure wider consultation and coordination among EU institutions, EU Member States, and democracy support actors for EU democracy support policy.
- Guarantee full compliance with processes and procedures for the approval and implementation of EU financing instruments under the next MFF.