Varrenti, Mario Giuseppe. (2010) EU Development Cooperation after Lisbon: The Role of the European External Action Service. College of Europe EU Diplomacy Papers 10/2010. [Working Paper]
As a result of the Lisbon Treaty, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the newly established European External Action Service (EEAS) have been granted participation in the programming and manage-ment cycle of the European Union’s (EU) instruments for development cooperation. This paper analyses the extent to which these reforms are likely to help or hinder the achievement of the primary objective of the EU’s development cooperation: the reduction and, in the long term, the eradication of poverty. With the loss of development policy’s independent status, the underlying hypothesis of many representatives of the development community is that the poverty focus of EU development cooperation will be undermined by the emergence of a dominant and unchecked EEAS in the programming and management cycle of development cooperation instruments. This paper, however, shows that the loss of development policy’s independent status does not necessarily lead to a weakening of the EU’s commitment to poverty eradication. It is argued that if an institutional capacity is put in place to maintain the system of checks and balances in the programming cycle alive and, by consequence, to ensure that aid regulations reflect a clear focus on poverty eradication, development cooperation could in fact even benefit from the Lisbon reforms. To this end, the paper offers a set of policy recommendations for the institutional architecture of the EEAS.
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