Monday, August 10, 2009

European Development Cooperation from Maastricht until today: Institutional reforms are not met by political commitment

A new working paper by the Austrian Foundation for International Development (ÖFSE) analyses the European Development Cooperation from the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 until today. The author contrasts the institutional progress in the EU Development Cooperation Framework with the lack of political commitment to make good use of it.

Since the Maastricht Treaty the various instruments in EC Development Cooperation were reduced to an acceptable level which helped to improve consistency and effectiveness of European external relations. Institutional changes are far from being perfect but nevertheless they can help to achieve the growing ambitions of EU Development Cooperation since the 1990s. However, the various commitments dealing with the political aspects of EU Development Cooperation seem to contradict the process of institutional reform.

Looking at the EU Policy towards the ACP countries, Latin America, Asia and the EU Neighbourhood the author shows various examples for these failed commitments. He concludes:

"It is not to be forgotten that although institutions can sketch out a pathway to development, it is still the people working in the institutions that make policy. Currently Parliamentarians and particularly Commissioners shape the policies and in the end, the heads of the member countries have the final say. Very much depends upon their will, dedication and assertiveness."

By Martin Behrens

See the Euforic newsfeed and dossier on EC Development Cooperation and its management.

See also our dossiers and newsfeeds for the EC policy with ACP, Latin America, Asia and the EU Neighbourhood.