1. Home
  2. Media centre
  3. Four actions EU leaders must agree to do to preserve Europe’s global leadership 

Four actions EU leaders must agree to do to preserve Europe’s global leadership 

As EU leaders return from COP28 after having made progress on the Loss and Damage Fund, a new challenge looms. In a multipolar world grappling with global threats from climate change to rising inflation, as well as food, health, and energy security concerns, member states have another clear opportunity to show where the EU stands internationally: the mid-term revision of the bloc’s 7-year budget. Will the EU turn inwards and again be ‘Fortress Europe’, or will it show itself capable of being a reliable global partner, even during difficult times?

EU leaders are meeting in Brussels this week to answer this very question. On the agenda is a proposal that would virtually scrap any new money for global action on development and climate, and – worryingly – potentially shift money away from these priorities to make room for new investments on migration.  

We need EU leaders to reject such short-sighted measures which would significantly hamper its ability to respond to unforeseen challenges over the next 4 years, and leave it unable to shape the world’s response to new and existing crises. 

To preserve EU credibility and relevance internationally, EU leaders must agree 4 things:

  1. An additional €3 billion of new money for the NDICI emerging challenges cushion with no earmarking
  2. An additional €3 billion for the Flexibility Instrument
  3. Cover the funds set aside in the NDICI cushion for Ukraine – namely the interest rate subsidy for MFA loans and the provisioning of the EIB repurposed loans – from the new Ukraine Facility from 2024 onwards
  4. Reinforce the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve with an additional €2.5 billion

The mid-term revision of the EU budget is a chance to show its partners that the EU is reliable, and that even in challenging times it will prioritize investment in shared challenges, not only its own interests. The EU and its member states cannot expect their partners to support multilateral action when they do not respond to their urgent needs. However, current insights into the negotiations suggest member states are instead set to agree on an approach that would signal a withdrawal from global action at a time when needs are growing.

The decisions our leaders take in Brussels in the upcoming days will reverberate around the world and will significantly affect how Europe is perceived by its partners. Strong alliances are vital for the future of Europe, its competitiveness and global influence. Without their trust and partnership, the EU will not be able to deliver its strategic objectives of fighting climate change and boosting global health and energy security; no country or bloc can tackle these challenges alone. 

Therefore, to preserve the EU’s credibility as a global actor and trusted partner, there is only one right answer: EU leaders must ensure new funding and flexibility in the budget over the next 4 years to respond to unforeseen needs and urgent challenges.