Development aid and expertise have assumed special significance for many countries worldwide vis-a-vis their resource constraints and lack of capacity to plan, develop and implement projects and programmes. International donors and development organizations assist the developing and the under-developed world to overcome their obstacles to socio-economic progress, providing financial support, together with a wide range of technical and administrative facilities.

The European Union is the world’s leading donor working with partner countries across the globe. While the member states themselves are beneficiaries of the EU regional funding (i.e. structural funds), the EU External Assistance aims at protecting European citizens and the stability & prosperity of countries beyond the EU borders, offering donations to countries of all five continents, depending on their relation with the EU.

EU’s enlargement policy assists the seven Western Balkan candidate and potential candidate countries and Iceland in meeting the “Copenhagen criteria”, implementing EU’s stabilization and association policy, aligning with EU standards and legislation, and preparing themselves for the rights and obligations that come with EU membership. The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance is the means by which the EU supports reforms in the ‘enlargement countries’ with financial and technical assistance.

EU’s development policy assists countries throughout the world, promoting good governance and human & economic development, and tackling universal issues, such as fighting hunger and preserving natural resources. EuropeAid delivers aid through a set of financial instruments, tailored to fit the individual needs of each region and country. Among those instruments, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) supports the direct neighbours of the enlarged EU to undertake concrete actions that may ensure prosperity, stability and security of the entire Europe’s neighbourhood.