EU technical assistance programmes and projects: an assessment of energy sector programmes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union
The increasing role and influence of the European Union in international affairs over the past twenty years is particularly marked in areas such as international trade and competition policy. The influence of the EU as an important trading block is emphasised by the fact that it presently accounts for about one-fifth of global imports and exports. It is sometimes less well recognised however, that the EU is also one of the world’s leading providers of aid and development assistance. At present the EU provides some 12 billion per year for external assistance programmes and accounts for around 10 per cent of the world’s total official development assistance. This funding covers all geographic regions of the world.