Thursday, September 10, 2009

Options for architectural reform for EU development cooperation

A recent ODI Background Note looks at key issues of EU development cooperation which will be decided upon in the remaining months of 2009. The paper assumes that the Lisbon Treaty will come into force on January 1 2010 after a positive Irish referendum in October.

This implies that key decisions need to be taken, including the appointment of the Council President, the High Commissioner for Foreign and Security Policy as well as the creation of the European External Action Service.

“Although the institutional location and the role of the new High Representative are outlined in the Lisbon Treaty, the question remains as to how the role will be balanced with the triple Presidencies – those of the European Council, the Council of Ministers and the Commission.”

According to the authors the High Representative could be improve EU stabilization efforts in the areas of conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict and institution building. However, the political influence of this post over development cooperation could lead to a policy which might be overridden by short-term foreign policy goals.

The paper also provides three models for a future Commission structure. The first model describes an overarching DG International Development with ACP countries, Asia, Latin America, the neighbourhood, the Middle East and former Soviet Union under one roof and a broad mandate managing all aspects of the program cycle as well as humanitarian aid. The second model would combine all regions as well plus the aid programming. However the neighbourhood and enlargement policies as well as humanitarian aid would stay separate. The third model proposes a DG for development policy, programming and humanitarian aid. Here programming and implementation would be separated in different DGs. Also part of this suggestion is a DG for the EU neighbourhood and enlargement policy.

Irrespective of the model that will be preferred, the authors underline that:

“[i]n any model [...] an important principle and lesson learned from the current set-up will be to avoid, or at least reduce, the creation of conflicting and overlapping portfolios in the Commission.”

by Martin Behrens

The paper is one of the outcomes of the ODI European Development Cooperation Support Programme.

See the Euforic newsfeed and dossier on EU development cooperation and management.

See also EADI's EDC2020 project on the future of EC development policy and cooperation