Santiso, Carlos. (2002) Improving the Governance of European Foreign Aid: Development Co-operation as an Element of Foreign Policy. CEPS Working Document No. 189, October 2002. [Working Paper]
[Introduction]: An uncertain future Should European Union (EU) member states ‘re-nationalise’ foreign aid? Considering the dismal record of the aid managed by the European Commission, this is a legitimate question that European leaders nevertheless seem unwilling to address seriously. Like in America, there is heightened debate across Europe on the purpose of the aid it provides to developing countries. The current debates on poverty reduction, debt relief and, more broadly, the effectiveness of development assistance have brought renewed light on foreign aid.... This study argues that the root cause of the current state of affairs is linked to the very process of European integration and the birth defects of European foreign aid policy. Europe has never clearly decided whether it wants development aid to be an instrument of its diplomacy or an autonomous policy with its own objectives and rationale. Time has probably come to make such a decision. The reform of the aid it provides is a critical dimension of its foreign policy, a dimension often overlooked by the debates on foreign, security and defence policies. It should be a critical component of any meaningful debate on the reform of EU external relations and added on the agenda of the constitutional convention launched in 2002. The main question arising from recent reforms is who will set development co-operation policy and how will it be translated into operational aid strategies. A corollary question is which organisational structure is most appropriate to achieve the EU’s development goals.
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