Does the EU have the right instruments to finance assistance in protracted crises and the needs of the upper middle income countries?
This study pays critical attention to two specific issue areas, which the financing instruments ought to be concerned with: First, the EU has developed tools and instruments to react to and prevent ‘protracted crises’. The results of this study show that the current set of instruments forms a good basis to the challenges associated with protracted crisis. In fact, no new instrument is needed to specifically address protracted crises. However, the operationalisation of instruments should be optimised. There is a clear need to find more sophisticated approaches that can establish a more holistic response to the various dimensions of protracted crises throughout the conflict cycle. In light of this, substantial improvements should be made to the responsiveness, flexibility, coherence and complementarity of the EU response in support of resilience. A critical point is that better incentives should be provided for long-term instruments to flexibly engage in protracted crises, including through support to peacebuilding, conflict prevention, post-crisis reconstruction and resilience. Second, the study focuses on the specific case of Upper Middle Income Countries (UMICs). The study acknowledges the importance and relevance of the ‘differentiated approach’ while also identifying some of the many problems which concern UMICs: first, the study shows that the Partnership Instrument has so far mainly targeted EU Strategic Partners, while thematic and regional programmes of the DCI hardly fill in the gap left following the graduation of some countries from bilateral aid programmes. The analysis also notes that exceptions which have been granted to some UMICs are strongly problematic. The analysis, however, also points to the fact that the question remains whether these exceptions will be extended to the period 2017-2020. While there is a clear need for a better coherence and coordination, the study argues that there is currently no need for the creation of a new instrument which would exclusively target UMICs.