The European Union’s Humanitarian Aid and Cooperation with Partners: The Framework Partnership Agreements
Humanitarian aid became a crucial component of the European Union’s (EU) external relations over the 1990s. The EU has become the foremost single public donor of humanitarian assistance and the world’s largest single donor of emergency aid. For this reason, the EU is increasing its efforts to enhance the visibility of its aid policy and to improve its performance in the field of humanitarian aid. 1
This chapter will briefly analyse EU humanitarian aid policy and its relationship with other international partners, under the umbrella of the Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs). The following structure applies. First, it will define the concept of humanitarian aid and identify its main principles. Second, it will analyse the evolution of the EU’s system of humanitarian assistance. Third, it will describe the role of the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO). Fourth, the chapter will focus on the EU’s humanitarian assistance partners and the FPAs. The role of the EU in humanitarian crises remains predominantly characterised by financial contributions. In practice, EU partners are the true executors of the operations. Nonetheless, with the creation of ECHO the EU decided to develop its operational role. However, collaboration with its international partners remains a crucial element for ECHO. One of ECHO’s priorities is to improve this cooperation through the revised FPAs, in force since 1 January 1999. Finally, two annexes summarise the way FPAs operate.