EU Development Assistance
A woman stands in front of a wall painting in Dili, East Timor. Photo: Martine Perret, UN Photo/Flickr CC.
The European Union has a long tradition as a global aid donor. Already in 1957, when the Treaty of Rome established the Union, the ambition was that the Union should promote global development by engaging in aid programmes. Today, the EU is one of the greatest economies of the world and the leading aid donor. Aid efforts are directed towards potential EU Member States as well as towards neighbouring countries outside Europe, middle income countries and the least developed countries (LDCs). A total of 160 countries around the world receive EU aid. Many EU policy areas affect the situation in developing countries – both positively and negatively. All the institutions and Member States of the EU are involved in development issues in one way or another. Given the role as the world’s largest aid donor, the EU has the power and a unique possibility to act responsibly on aid issues, by promoting global development and poverty reduction.
The collected EU aid is influenced by many actors. The European External Action Service (EEAS), which is responsible for the common EU foreign and security policies since its establishment 2010, engages in the strategic work and the overall design of EU Development Assistance programmes. The Directorate General Development and Cooperation/EuropeAid of the European Commission is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the aid. The Council of Ministers and the European Parliament decide on the direction for EU’s aid policies, based on suggestions from the European Commission.
The EU has adopted many documents on how the aid should be designed and how it should become more efficient. Among these are The European Consensus on Development (2005), the action plan More, Better, Faster Aid (2006) and a policy framework on the implementation of the Accra Agenda for Action (2009).
How is the EU aid delivered?
Does EU aid promote or obstruct global development?
There are also several other problems with the EU aid. Among these problems is the tied aid. Aid receiving countries can be required to buy commodities or services from Europe with the aid money, in order to even be granted any aid. Sometimes the donor countries also put demands on how the developing countries should design and manage their economics. The coordination of different types of aid has also been poor, which often has led to duplicated work for the receiving countries. Moreover, the donor countries have insufficiently made use of the receiving countries’ already existing mechanisms for coordination, allocation and reporting. The environmental and climate consequences attached to the aid has not either been properly taken into account.
How does CONCORD Sweden work with issues related to EU aid?
Page updated 2012-05-04