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Policy-Making in the European Union

Policy-Making in the European Union (8th edn)

Helen Wallace, Mark A. Pollack, Christilla Roederer-Rynning, and Alasdair R. Young
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date: 29 September 2023

p. 41318. International Development

A Distinct and Challenged Policy Domainlocked

p. 41318. International Development

A Distinct and Challenged Policy Domainlocked

  • Jan Orbie


The European Union (EU) is widely recognized to be a major actor in international development cooperation. First, this chapter discusses key issues and debates in EU development policy. These relate to the importance of the EU in this field, the different objectives that it pursues, the aid budgets at its disposal, and the legal competences vis-à-vis the member states. Secondly, the uniqueness of this policy domain, compared to other EU policies in this volume, is addressed. Specifically, it highlights three distinctive features: the availability of budgetary power outside the EU, the long historical legacy dating back to member states’ colonial past, and the key role of trade as the preferred tool for development. Thirdly, the chapter elaborates two main policy-making domains: the EU as a donor itself and as a coordinator of member states’ policies. Overall, the EU follows the regulatory and distributional modes in its role as a donor, and when it seeks to coordinate member-state policy, the policy coordination mode is to the fore. Moreover, intensive transgovernmentalist features appear in both domains. The conclusion summarizes the main trends and future challenges including the implications of Brexit, the rise of China, and the increasing politicization of aid.

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