State of the Union 2018 – Commission unveils plan to support investment outside the EU and proposals on migration

September 12, 2018
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In his State of the Union Address 2018 this morning, President Jean Claude Juncker proposed a new ‘Africa – Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs’ to focus investment where it matters most: in skills and job creation. To achieve this, a more effective governance model and greater collaboration between multilateral and national development actors in Europe is needed. The European Commission is thus today setting out a number of ways to address the investment challenges and opportunities in Africa, the EU’s Neighbourhood and the wider world. These include calls for joint initiatives between multilateral and national development actors and a reinforced European financial architecture able to meet the ambition of the newly proposed Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument.

Moreover, the Commission has identified scope for closer collaboration between the European Investment Bank (EIB) as the EU’s Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and national and regional development actors, in order to benefit from their respective experience and expertise, while maintaining diversity in the market. Existing structures already in place should be used, rather than creating new ones, and the focus should be on synergies and working more efficiently together. This can be done for example through relevant regional and thematic specialisation of existing individual partner financial institutions, or joint initiatives.

The Commission will convene in October 2018 all relevant actors, including Member States, development finance institutions and other stakeholders, in order to operationalise as rapidly as possible the actions presented today. This is without prejudice to the ongoing negotiations on the future Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument that the Commission proposed in June 2018 with €89.2 billion from the EU budget. Through its three streams – geographic, thematic and rapid response – the Instrument will address global challenges such as human rights, gender equality, climate change, migration and conflict prevention. The proposal looks at the most appropriate financial tools for the given context, such as grants, financial instruments and guarantees, or a combination of these. It integrates the External Investment Plan model and expands the European Fund for Sustainable Development, giving a new External Action Guarantee of up to €60 billion. The proposal is currently being negotiated by the European Parliament and Member States in the Council.

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President Jean-Claude Juncker presented 3 new and ambitious proposals to ensure full EU solidarity on migration and better protection of Europe’s external borders. They are intended to facilitate an overall compromise on the ongoing reform of the EU’s asylum system. Today’s proposals set a new level of ambition for the European Border and Coast Guard and the EU’s Agency for Asylum, reinforcing both to ensure that Member States can rely on full EU operational support at all times. The Commission is also today proposing to improve the effectiveness of return procedures, updating existing EU rules on return, and setting out the next steps on legal migration, an essential component of a balanced migration policy.

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Text of Juncker’s speech

Video of the debate

Countries covered:

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Palestine *
  • Syria *
  • Tunisia