Uniting All Forces of European Cooperation
INTERVIEW The European Union is Expertise France’s largest contributor. Thanks to this partnership, the agency continues to implement cooperation projects that meet its partner countries’ expectations.
With KOEN DOENS,
Director-General of International Partnerships, European Commission
The EU is Expertise France’s top financial partner. What is your view of the role Member States’ cooperation agencies should play in Europe’s development policies?
Development agencies have showcased the added value and the skills of our Member States in the implementation of the European development agenda, for instance, through European regional programs with high political visibility during the 2014-2020 period. They made Team Europe before its time!
With this paradigm change, our “policy first” approach, and the creation of Team Europe’s initiatives, we are standing at a threshold that we will only be able to cross with the increased involvement of cooperation agencies in the field. Expertise France and its capacity to work under the European format and mobilize European expertise will be a key asset to embody our values, foster political dialogue with our partner countries, and support truly transformative approaches. Facing the challenges ahead of us, the response can only be collegial and inclusive.
Over half of Expertise France’s financing comes from the European Union.
Expertise France joined AFD Group in January 2022. What are your thoughts about this integration?
The European Commission has been following this French integration process with great interest. This strategy echoes Team Europe’s search for more concerted methods. Both developments exist in the context of a more strategic approach and reflect our conviction that working together delivers more efficiency and results. The enlargement of AFD Group will enable the Commission to cooperate with a stakeholder operating holistically. AFD Group will be able to boast a palette of valuable tools: a robust experience in development, complementarity between operation instruments (technical and financial), multisector skills, a significant presence in the field, and in-depth knowledge of our partner countries.
The enlargement of AFD Group will enable the Commission to cooperate with a stakeholder operating holistically.
What do you expect from AFD Group in the context of the new European financial framework of 2021-2027?
The Team Europe format offers the EU and its Member States the opportunity to intensify our collective impact and increase our visibility. The collaboration with AFD Group will help us translate this approach into concrete actions. It means implementing our shared vision of sustainable, inclusive, green, and digital recovery. AFD Group will notably contribute to stimulating investments in our partner countries while offering technical assistance capacities to support these dynamics, especially through Expertise France.
AFD Group has been participating in Team Europe initiatives at the design and funding stages and now the implementation stage as well. With these initiatives, our objective is to unite the forces of European coordination behind truly transformative projects to support our partner countries. The AFD Group assets I mentioned will be decisive in reaching these objectives. We are counting on them.
Interview conducted in June 2022
Achieving SDG 17
In line with the Partnership for the Goals objective, Expertise France works with the French, European, and international stakeholders that are relevant to each project. This partnership-based approach enables coherent action in the field. It also allows us to offer a global response tailored to the needs of partner countries.