EU-ACP relations post 2020
Ministers took stock of progress in the preparations of a Council decision authorising the Commission to open negotiations on the future partnership between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
The Council commanded the Bulgarian Presidency for the intense work carried out in relevant Council preparatory bodies since the publication in December 2017 of the Commission's recommendation for an update of the existing framework for cooperation with ACP countries.
The Council confirmed its objective of finalising the negotiating directives as soon as possible, in order to be ready to launch negotiations with ACP partner countries by August 2018, as foreseen in the current agreement, the Cotonou agreement.
EU emergency trust fund for Africa
The Council discussed the EU emergency trust fund (EUTF) for Africa. Ministers took stock of the fund's implementation, its main achievements and the state of play on financial aspects on the basis of a presentation by the Commission.
As of 8 May 2018, 147 programmes have been agreed for a total amount of around EUR 2.59 billion divided between the three geographic areas of Sahel and Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa and the North of Africa region. The fund is financed both by the EU and individual member states. Overall, the resources of the EUTF had reached EUR 3.39 billion at the end of 2017.
Use of external financing instruments
Ministers had an exchange of views on the foreign aid budget for the 2021-2027 period, on the basis of the Commission proposals for the future multiannual financial framework (MFF) presented on 2 May.
The Commission proposes to set aside an envelope of Ä123 billion in the next MFF to finance its external policy. This represents a 26% rise compared to the current period.
The Council also adopted conclusions on the implementation of the EU's instruments for financing external actions in 2016, as well as on the effective use of all sources of financing and other means of implementation to foster sustainable development.
Energy and development
The Council adopted conclusions on ways sustainable energy cooperation can contribute to delivering on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
The conclusions highlight three key objectives in the area of energy and development: addressing the lack of access to energy; increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy generation; and contributing to the global fight against climate change, in line with the Paris agreement.