(a) contract as a generic term: the term “contract” is regularly used as a generic term, which encompasses all international law commitments between international bodies regardless of their formal designation. Both the 1969 Vienna Convention and the 1986 Vienna Convention confirm this generalization of the term “treaty.” The 1969 Vienna Convention defines a treaty as “an international agreement concluded in writing between states and governed by international law, whether enshrined in a single act or in two or more related acts, and according to its particular name.” The 1986 Vienna Convention extended the definition of treaties to international agreements involving international organizations as contracting parties. To speak of a “contract” in the general sense of the word, an instrument must meet different criteria. First, it must be a binding instrument, which means that the contracting parties intend to create rights and obligations. Second, the instrument must be concluded by states or international organizations with contractual power. Third, it must be governed by international law. Finally, the commitment must be written down. Even before the 1969 Vienna Convention on Treaty Law, the word “contract” was reserved in writing in the general sense. Therefore, with the new `Smart Energy for Europe` action programme (2003-2006), the Commission proposes to strengthen European support for the promotion of renewable energy (ALTENER) and energy efficiency (SAVE), while redirecting international action towards these two priorities (COOPENER).

A contracting party is a state, international organization or other entity with contractual capacity that has expressed consent to the issuance of the contract, to be bound by this contract when it came into force for that state or the international organization [or any other entity with contractual capacity]. Agreements generally define, in their final clauses, the categories of states, organizations or other entities likely to become contracting parties. When multilateral agreements aim at universal participation, they use either the formula of all states or the Viennese formula. Outside the European Union, the EIB supports the pre-accession strategies of candidate countries and the Western Balkans. It also manages the financial dimension of the agreements reached within the framework of the European development aid and cooperation policy. In this context, it is present in Mediterranean countries as well as in the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP).