As part of its efforts to reform the management of external aid, the Commission set up the EuropeAid Co-operation Office in January 2001. The Office’s mandate is to implement the external aid instruments of the European Commission which are funded by the European Community budget and the European Development Fund. It does not deal with pre-accession aid programmes, humanitarian activities, macro-financial assistance, the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) or the Rapid Reaction Facility.
The Office is responsible for all phases of the project cycle (identification and appraisal of projects and programmes, preparation of financing decisions, implementation and monitoring, evaluation of projects and programmes) which ensures the achievement of the objectives of the programmes established by the Directorates General for External Relations and Development and approved by the Commission.
EuropeAid thus has the following tasks:
- to ensure that Community aid is implemented effectively, whilst providing high standards of quality and speed in the design and implementation of projects. It is responsible for setting up mechanisms to promote sound financial management, consistency and transparency in contract award procedures while continuing to simplify and rationalise external aid management procedures
- to devolve to Commission Delegations all operations which can be better managed locally, in conjunction with the Directorates General for External Relations and Development. It therefore sets up the management, supervision, support and control systems needed to achieve these objectives
- to foster a culture based on individual and collective responsibility. This is achieved by giving staff clearly defined responsibilities and providing them with the initial and subsequent training they need to maintain a high level of professional skills
- to co-operate with the other Commission services involved in external relations, both in Brussels and in Delegations, as well as with the Member States, particularly their aid agencies
- to work with those Community agencies and bodies able to assist the Commission in its activities, as well as with other bilateral and multilateral donors. EuropeAid also promotes dialogue with the many partners implementing aid measures on behalf of the European Commission and beneficiary countries