Development in the EU’s International Relations: From Aid to Partnership?
This panel focuses on the role that development has had in the EU’s international relations. Development cooperation has long been one of the main tools of the EU to react to global and regional challenges, which has historically included relations to countries and regions in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, Asia and Latin America, and the EU’s neighbourhood. On the one hand, the role of development cooperation is changing in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2030. On the other hand, the EU is struggling with a dichotomy of foreign and development policy that is endangering its image, reputation and effectiveness as an international partner. Hence, the central question for the panel is how and in what ways changes of the EU’s development cooperation affect the international relations of the EU within wider international processes. It also seeks to shed light on when and how partners have contributed to shaping EU policy. The panel shows how shifts in the EU’s policy help to assess the extent to which the EU has adjusted to meet the shifting requirements of its international relations, especially the ambition for genuine international partnerships and cooperation in the decade until 2030.
Presentations of the Symposium
Shifting Priorities of the EU as a Development Actor: Context and Consequences
EU development cooperation can be seen to conform to predictable policy-cycle outputs between 1957 until the 2005 Consensus and the Lisbon Treaty. What followed was a shift towards more explicitly frame-based outputs from 2011 onwards whereby EU development policy became increasingly focused on tackling a broader range of issues rather than the specific focus on poverty reduction. These include security, migration, climate change and sustainable development. Utilising case studies, the article shows how both the framing of activities and the range of policy instruments utilised have evolved to reflect broader EU foreign policy and domestic interests. It highlights how the EU’s external policy architecture, Brexit, the euro crisis and the rise of populist governments have helped shaped the emphases of the purpose of EU development policy and how it has come to be framed in increasingly diverse ways.
Going with the Flow? Exploring the European Parliament’s Influence on the Union’s Changing Development Policy
This paper analyses the changing EU development policy discourse with a focus on the European Parliament’s co-legislative, budgetary and supervisory roles. Whilst characterised in past debates as an actor mainly ‘going with the flow’, this paper inquires to what extent the EP is increasingly making its own waves in the area of EU development policy. To this end, it analyses the EP's engagement with development policy from two perspectives: the EP as a unitary actor and its internal political dynamics. It specifically focuses on the recent negotiations of a single instrument that further integrates development policy into the EU’s external action. The EP’s strong influence in the negotiations of the single instrument shows that its major power lies in its co-legislative role, which in turn facilitates the future use of its budgetary and supervisory roles. The effectiveness with which it will do so remains uncertain in view of Parliament's increasing political fragmentation.
Fit for Creating Partnerships of Equals with the Global South? Tensions in the EU’s Development Policy post-2020
The European Union seeks to adjust its external policies to the shifting challenges of the international order. As part of this adjustment, the new Commission has embarked on a mission to revitalise and reconfigure its partnership with the African continent and the ACP group of states. The era of donor-recipient relations is over, according to the EU. The core of this effort is a novel and more flexible financial instrument for external relations. According to the Commission proposal, the new instrument will add much-needed flexibility to respond to short term needs as the international context changes. In this paper, we shed a critical light on the implicit tensions in the EU’s approach for creating a more effective and equal international development policy post-2020. For the case of the new financial instrument for external action, we show the limits of current institutional adjustments in the EU to establish a partnership of equals with the Global South.
The Evolution of the EU’s International Development Relations with India: From Development Aid Recipient to Graduated Country to Partner in Development Cooperation
The European Union (EU) and its member states have long been contributors to development aid in India. This was especially so after the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community (EEC), which led to more priority being accorded to Asia and to a significant increase in the level of EEC aid to India. The EEC/EU contributed to important Indian development programmes such as Operation Flood for the enhancement of milk production in rural areas, to poverty alleviation, health, education and state partnership programmes, while also being involved in civil society projects on sustainable development and vocational training in India, to name a few. In spite of this contribution, however, the EU lacked visibility as a significant international development actor in India, while Indian elites pointed to the low level of EU appreciation for India’s own role in international development. This interdisciplinary paper explains the challenges in EU-India relations in development cooperation from the early years when India was a recipient of EEC development aid, to India’s graduation from bilateral development assistance from the EU in 2014. It then considers the recent revival of EU interest in a partnership for development cooperation with graduated countries such as India to help deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.
Two Decades of Strategic Partnership between the EU and Latin America Caribbean: From Aid to Associates?
At the first ever bi-regional summit between the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean in 1999, Brussels upgraded the region from a recipient of development assistance to a strategic partner with a more horizontal and global type of relationship. The paper shows how this became the starting point of a gradual withdrawal of the EU in Latin American middle-income-countries in terms of normative influence on democracy, human rights or regionalism, on the one hand, and its economic presence through trade, investment, and development cooperation, on the other hand. The emergence of alternative external actors, such as China, with their own agenda in the region, contributed to reduce the presence and influence of the EU in Latin America. The paper analyzes the transformations in EU-LAC relations from the perspective of development policies taking into account debates on development cooperation in transition, especially in the context of middle-income countries, and the challenges to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the post-pandemic context.