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Supporting the EU as a global leader on Democracy: Read our Joint Statements on EU programming for external action 2021-2027

International IDEA co-drafted three position papers with recommendations on programming for democracy within the EU Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). The Statements are jointly published with the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) and the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP).

The recommendations aim at supporting the EU in its ambition to become a global leader on human rights and democracy and deliver a new geopolitical agenda[1]. While negotiations are ongoing on the next EU multi-annual financial framework, now is the time for the EU in Brussels and EU Delegations to set general democracy contours through the programming cycle. Integrating this priority will allow the EU to support democracy assistance projects in the years to come.

The full text of the Joints Statements can be consulted here:

  1. Joint Statement on geographic programming for democracy

Democratisation programmes should be a cross-cutting priority in EU’s development programming, including the geographic allocations. This will allow the EU to achieve its commitment to be a frontrunner in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and ambition to take up a global leadership on human rights and democracy. Read our recommendations on the level of funding, themes, funding modalities and procedures [here].

  1. Joint Statement on thematic programming on human rights and democracy

Strong democratic institutions and sound democratic processes help to enhance democratic delivery on the five key areas for external action set by the European Commission: sustainable growth, climate action, peace & governance, migration and digital development. Read our recommendations on how to operationalise this vision through thematic programming for human rights and democracy [here].

  1. Joint Statement on thematic programming for civil society organizations

Support to civil society is crucial for enhancing democratic accountability and fostering participation in democracy. The EU should enhance its efforts against shrinking civic space and in support of free media as cornerstones of democracy. Read our recommendations on how to empower civil society organizations through EU external action programming [here].


For more information about the Joint Statements and International IDEA’s partnership with the EU, please contact International IDEA’s Europe Office at


[1] EU Joint Communication on the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024, see



About the authors

Marilyn Neven
Head of EU Liaison
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