EU International Development Cooperation post-2020 II: Financing and Implementation Challenges
The EU’s international development policy is currently in a process of adaptation. The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals have reinforced the EU’s position as a leading donor of official development assistance. And yet EU development policy is increasingly expected to take into account pressures from global challenges like unmanaged mass migration, terrorism and climate change. It has come to be seen as the ‘cornerstone’ policy for addressing their root causes, including global poverty, under-performing institutions and repressive governance. These challenges come at the time when a number of EU development cooperation’s key aspects and financing are being re-negotiated, such as the post-2020 ACP-EU partnership and the post-2020 European Development Fund, as well as a new multiannual financial framework from 2021. These negotiations are taking place just as the EU is suffering from a number of internal challenges which question just how effectively development cooperation will be able to react to these global shifts. Perhaps Brexit poses the most important challenge among these. The UK is one of the largest contributors to the EU’s international development spending, and as one of the world’s largest bilateral donors, it adds significant clout to the EU’s efforts. The UK has also been one of the more influential shapers of the EU’s development and neighbourhood policies in the past decades. These two panels discusses various perspectives on how the EU is reacting and adapting to internal and external challenges, with particular focus on policy (panel 1) and financing/implementation (panel 2).
Presentations of the Symposium
Future Relationships and how to Finance them: Analysing Parallel Negotiations Governing EU Relations with Third States and Regions
One of the various challenges that third countries and regions face in shaping relations with the European Union is that their EU negotiation counterparts on cooperation substance are not the same as those deciding on the financing of relations. This paper will provide detailed descriptions for the process towards renewing the AU-EU partnership – towards and after the 2017 Abidjan – as well as the reform of the EU-ACP relations after 2020. It will further assess the consistency between the EU’s proposals for the reform of these partnerships with their proposals on financing these through the 2014-2020 Multi-Annual Financial Framework. The paper will subsequently mirror these processes with the expectations that both EU negotiators and their counterparts have with regard to negotiations of future relations. It suggests that the parallel negotiations of cooperation substance and funding may work to the EU’s advantage during negotiations, but that they inadvertently cause that third countries and regions remain predominantly focused on financial returns from cooperation. The paper thus observes a discrepancy between the EU’s negotiation practice and its discourse that stresses the importance of promoting equal partnerships.
Brexit’s Impact on Aid: Forecasting EU and Global Aid Volumes and Geographical Allocation
Both the UK individually and the EU as a group are two of the most relevant stakeholders in the international community of development assistance. For this reason, the question of what will happen with British and European aid after Brexit materializes is a relevant one. This paper assesses the possible consequences of Brexit on both EU and global aid. We draw three scenarios –nationalist, cosmopolitan and inter-national– in which two variables (the amount of aid extended by the UK and its allocation across countries) demonstrate consistency within a given vision on foreign affairs. To build those three scenarios, we draw on international relations theory, the academic rationale both for giving aid and for not giving it, and previous assessments on how Brexit might unfold with regards aid (by think tanks, the academia and officials). These three scenarios show different impacts on aid volume and allocation. Global aid may vary between 0% and -3%, while aid managed by the EU could drop by between -8% and -15%. The paper also considers the impact of those variations on recipient regions. In short, although Brexit might not have a major impact on global aid funds, it would certainly affect the size and relevance of the EU as a donor and international political actor.
‘A New Scramble for Africa’ in the Event of Brexit: Challenges for European Development Finance and Trade Policy Outlook
The British referendum on continued EU membership in 2016 was infused by Brexiteer discourse relating to a fairer UK relationship with African countries inside the Commonwealth. Prominent campaigners including Boris Johnson and Daniel Hannan regularly spoke of the EU’s mercantilist trade and aid policies in sub-Saharan Africa as a means to underscore the supranational project’s unsavoury relationship with Anglophone developing countries. Brexit, it was claimed, would usher in a new era whereby the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and a resurgent UK Department for International Trade (DFIT) would have the opportunity to offer humanitarian aid and free trade unencumbered by the cynicism of the European Commission. Recent policy papers from both DFID and DFIT, however, have made clear that the UK intends to replicate the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) under negotiation between the European Commission and sub-regions of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) bloc. This is despite Brexiteer discourse about the EPAs’ apparent pitfalls relating to non-tariff barriers and the import-flooding of African markets. Perhaps more worryingly, meanwhile, DFID and DFIT publications highlight the need for UK Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) – notably the CDC Group – to robustly compete with their EU counterparts, to gain better market share for UK businesses within emerging African markets. In this context, the article argues that Brexit will intensify a ‘new scramble for Africa’ and highlights emerging challenges for European development cooperation vis-à-vis normative pledges to sustainable development. Additionally, it consider possible African responses via reflection on the writings of Kwame Nkrumah regarding ‘neo-colonialism’.
Towards A Functional Division of Labour in EU Development Cooperation post-2020
The division of labour (DoL) was recognized as a priority in EU development cooperation policy a decade ago, but has lost traction in recent years. Though the Union still promotes joint programming for better aid coordination, other goals are more important. This reflects general trends in European development cooperation, which is less focused on traditional goals like poverty eradication or aid effectiveness but serves more political, security and economic self-interests. This paper traces the evolution of the European approach to DoL as presented in official documents and assesses the progress achieved so far in DoL implementation. It highlights major reasons for its limited successes, including the imprecise and inadequate description of the EU’s own comparative advantage and added value. One way to improve coordination between European donors would be a clear and functional division of labour, in which the European Institutions focus development assistance more on regional level, while leaving national programs to Member States. This would better utilize Union unique expertise and help in more strategic allocation of EU aid. Brexit, negotiations of the next Multiannual Financial Framework and next EU-ACP agreement offer the chance for discussions on major reform. Though such a radical shift seems improbable in the short term due to reasons including vested interests and path dependency, the EU can already start refocusing on regional development cooperation programmes. This would be in line with EU external policy goals and allow it to boost regional cooperation while competing with emerging donors like China.
European Development Policy Coordination in Palestine
There is a wide-ranging consensus that European coordination in development cooperation is necessary in terms of aid effectiveness. The EU has also pursued development coordination to improve policy impact and coherence as a global actor. However, there is still considerable debate and uncertainty on the conditions under which European development coordination works This paper explores this question by examining European coordination in Palestine, which provides an atypical context as development aid in this area is much more politicized than in most other countries. The research is based on more than 80 interviews with stakeholders in Jerusalem and Ramallah in March 2017 and June 2019. Specifically, it involves four case studies, namely European coordination practices in the field of agriculture, education, human rights organizations, and social infrastructure in Area C. First, we provide a comparative assessment of the extent to which these coordination practices have been successful. Second, we analyse the explanatory value of two obvious explanations, namely like-mindedness between donors and domestic backing from donors' constituencies. Third, we discuss more fundamental issues that give rise to dilemma for development aid, in particular relating to limited political impact in the particular context of Palestine. We conclude with reflections for further research on the politicization of European development aid.