According to a recent paper by the German Development Institute, the European Commission should not anymore be the main focus of reform in the EU aid architecture. Sven Grimm proposes to look more on the whole system, meaning not only aid administered by the Commission but to assess the entire EU aid system which includes the member states and the Commission. Grimm argues that the Commission went through an intense reform process but that the system as a whole still needs reform.
“…the bucket of EC aid appears to have been fixed and is no longer leaking profusely. However, if one looks at the overall system of EU external relations with developing countries, there is not just one bucket (the Commission), but at least 27 more (the member states). And the question to be asked is: Given this line of buckets – all shaped differently, with different size and made of different material – can the EU deliver effectively the way it is organized at the moment?”
According to the author, challenges ahead which will require close coordination with the EC aid system include the shift to partner country level ownership as demanded by the Paris Declaration, the future EC aid budget negotiations, the division of labour between the EU 27 +1 as well as the yet unknown consequences of the Lisbon treaty reforms regarding EU development policy.
by Martin Behrens
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See also the Whither EC Aid Project on the future of EU Development Cooperation.