European Union

I. Overall Official Development Assistance (ODA)

Reference DAC Statistical Tables.

II. Geographical Focus and Priority Countries

The European Union is a major global player in international development assistance. The executive arm of the EU, the European Commission, is divided into several Directorate-Generals responsible for the different dimensions of the EU’s development programmes. Among the different Directorate-Generals, the ILO mainly cooperates with the following:

  • The Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG Employment) has the task of contributing to the development of a modern, innovative and sustainable European Social Model with more and better jobs in an inclusive society based on equal opportunities.
  • The Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) is responsible for designing European development policy and delivering aid throughout the world. It is responsible for the definition and planning of the EU’s development cooperation policies and programmes with countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). In the context of the Cotonou Agreement, DG DEVCO also develops and monitors strategies for development cooperation with the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). The 20 OCT’s benefit from the European Development Fund through a specific association agreement. The DG is also responsible for the implementation of EU external aid instruments, including the European Development Fund, and is in charge of funding individual programmes and projects.
  • The European External Action Service (EEAS) is responsible for development cooperation with countries in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East.
  • The Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) assists those countries with a perspective to join the EU - the Western Balkans and Turkey in particular.
  • The ILO also collaborates on an occasional basis with other DG's such as Trade and Migration and Home Affairs.

III. Thematic priorities

The Strategic Partnership between the European Commission and the ILO is realized through the Decent Work Agenda, which can be divided into 4 main pillars:

  • Rights at Work
  • Employment
  • Social Dialogue
  • Social Protection

Gender is being mainstreamed in all four sectors, and special attention is given to the most vulnerable and the informal sector.
The majority of EC funding is implemented through EC Delegations in EU partner countries.

The cooperation covers issues such as:

  • Promotion of Core Labour Standards
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Employment Strategy and Poverty Reduction
  • Labour Migration
  • Flexicurity
  • Sustainable development
  • Social protection
  • Social Dialogue (at this stage mainly in EU and EU enlargement countries)
  • The social dimension of globalisation
  • Trade, employment and decent work
  • Green jobs, climate change and the world of work
  • Maritime and transport restructuring
  • Gender as a mainstreamed theme
These areas of priority are, however, not exclusive. Since the signature of the Agreement, greater progress has been made in the fields of child labour, social protection and migration.
The ITC/ILO is also implementing EC funded programmes covering the same priority issues.

IV. Procedures

The legal framework, which facilitates the cooperation between the EU and the ILO is the Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement (FAFA). It was established in April 2003 between the UN and the EC to foster collaboration between the two organizations. It determines the rules and regulations as regards financial and contractual aspects such as currency, payment schedule, audit, procurement, overheads etc. Annual meetings are organized between the EC and UN to review the FAFA.

In July 2004 the ILO signed a Strategic Partnership Framework with the European Commission as part of the May 2001 Exchange of Letters between the two institutions. The process leading to the signature of the Partnership generated several opportunities for closer dialogue between the two institutions and has resulted in a substantial volume of funds approved by the Commission for ILO implementation through a variety of channels. The implementation of the Partnership Framework is reviewed annually in a high-level meeting between the two institutions.
Fiscal Year: 1 January - 31 December

V. Partnership Programme 


VI. RBSA Contributions


VII. Framework agreement

May 2001 Exchange of Letters between the ILO and the EC and Strategic Partnership Framework:

  • Conclusions EC/ILO High Level Meeting 21 October 2007
  • Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement (FAFA)
  • Joint EC-UN Guidelines on Reporting
  • Guidelines on Recoveries and Offsetting
  • Joint Action Plan on Visibility 2006
  • Standard Contribution Agreement with an International Organisation

VIII. Websites