The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was developed in 2004 and renewed in 2011 with the objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours and instead strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all concerned. The premise of the ENP is that the EU has a vital interest in seeing greater economic development and better governance in its neighbourhood. Spreading peace and prosperity across the borders of the EU prevents artificial divisions and creates benefits for the ENP partners and the EU alike.
The NIF is one of the tools introduced in the framework of the ENP to strengthen EU support to the economic development of its neighbours. Private investment flows to most countries in the Neighbourhood Region remain insufficient compared to global needs. The capacity to finance crucial infrastructure is also insufficient in neighbourhood countries. The NIF aims at maximising the impact of EU funding, in particular lending provided by European Finance Institutions to critical infrastructures and SMEs. Implemented by EuropeAid and financed through the interregional programme, the NIF has been available to Southern and Eastern neighbours since 2008.