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International Partnerships
News announcement30 April 2024Directorate-General for International Partnerships3 min read

Global Gateway: Scaling up sustainable finance in EU partner countries

Participation of Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner, to the 1st meeting of the High-Level Experts Group on Sustainable Finance for Low and Middle Income Countries

The European Commission received today the final recommendations of the High-Level Expert Group on scaling up sustainable finance in low-and middle-income countries (HLEG), in the presence of International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

Since 2022, emerging markets have experienced the worst ever capital outflows. The report provides concrete and innovative actions the Commission can take to mobilise private capital for sustainable investments in Global Gateway partner countries.

It outlines ten recommendations, with a focus on establishing an enhanced strategic engagement model with partner countries while ensuring increased flexibility in leveraging the EU's external financial support instruments. Furthermore, the HLEG recommends innovative solutions to mobilise private capital and the increase of fiscal resources for sustainable investments, alongside measures to strengthen the size and depth of local sustainable capital markets.

The recommendations in the report feed into the wider debate on how to crowd in more private funding for sustainable development in partner countries through innovative models, in a context of constrained public funds and limits to concessional finance. For this to happen, partner countries need to continue working on developing their sustainable finance ecosystems and sustainable capital markets. In parallel, ongoing discussions of the mandates of multilateral development banks and development financial institutions will also be instrumental to bring the private sector on board.

European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said: “Sustainable finance in low- and middle-income countries has to be scaled up given the current constraints on public finance and the limited availability of concessional finance. This has been a priority of my mandate under the Global Gateway investment strategy. This report sends a strong signal to our partners that the European Commission is committed to mobilise private capital at scale for sustainable investment for low- and middle-income countries.”

European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi added: “Mobilising sustainable investments in our partner countries has been a key priority during my mandate. Our ambitious Economic & Investment Plans in the Western Balkans, Eastern Partnership, and Southern Neighbourhood have been instrumental in this respect. These projects are expected to foster nearly EUR 50 billion of investments in vital sectors covering our partners’ development needs: sustainable connectivity, human capital, competitiveness and inclusive growth, the twin green and digital transitions, and more. These recommendations will help our partners amid the current economic and geopolitical volatile landscape to develop further.”

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva stated: “Constraints on public finance coupled with high interest rates worldwide are making it ever more difficult to close the investment gap for low- and middle-income countries. This report is a valuable contribution to the ongoing international reflection on how to mobilise private capital for these countries and resonates with the IMF’s own ongoing work in this area. The IMF will continue to work closely with the European Commission in supporting our partners in developing their capital markets, attracting private investors, and overcoming financial obstacles to secure a bright, more prosperous future for all.”


The HLEG was mandated by the European Commission to identify the challenges and opportunities of sustainable finance in in low- and middle-income countries, and to provide recommendations on concrete and transformative actions the European Commission could take to support sustainable finance in these countries. It brought together a diverse group of international experts representing a broad range of expertise, both financial and non-financial, including EU cross-border investors, local investors, local businesses, civil society, standard-setters and academia. Established in September 2022, the HLEG held twelve meetings in both plenary and working group format. The recommendations are the output of over 18 months of dedicated work.

Global Gateway represents the European Union's effort reduce the worldwide investment disparity and boost smart, clean and secure connections in digital, energy and transport sectors, and to strengthen health, education and research systems. It provides sustainable investment opportunities to enhance the prosperity and security of our global partners and Europe alike. The Global Gateway strategy embodies a collaborative approach that brings together the European Union, EU Member States, and European development finance institutions. The aim is to mobilise up to €300 billion in public and private investments from 2021 to 2027, creating essential links rather than dependencies, and closing the global investment gap.

More Information

High-Level Expert Group on scaling up sustainable finance in low- and middle-income countries (HLEG) final report – Executive Summary

High-Level Expert Group on scaling up sustainable finance in low- and middle-income countries (HLEG) final report

Global Gateway


Publication date
30 April 2024
Directorate-General for International Partnerships