Birchfield, Vicki L. (2007) The EU's Development Policy: Empirical Evidence of 'Normative Power Europe'? In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)
[From the introduction]. The European Union is the world's largest aid donor to developing countries purportedly spending 500 million euros per month on assistance projects that span the globe from its neighbors, to the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Collectively, EU Member States and the European Commission provide more than half of all official development aid and yet there has been only scant attention paid to this area of EU policy. The vast majority of scholarship on the EU's external relations tends to focus primarily on the construction (and often the weaknesses) of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), but both development aid and humanitarian assistance represent a significant area of EU external action. As this paper seeks to illustrate, the existing scholarship misses an important dimension of European power and influence in the world by neglecting its role in foreign aid and development. Both internally and externally the EU has undergone a major transformation in the way conducts its development policies. Internally, the European Parliament has recently offered a strong critique of this policy area and as a result, attempts are being made to close the gap between rhetoric and reality by offering a more coherent vision of development that is based on partnership with the receiving countries and by improving the quality and efficiency of the various funding instruments and designing new mechanisms to work more closely with each country and their own particular strategies to reduce poverty. I argue that this capacity for reflexivity and policy change derives from and affirms its unique nature as a normative power in world politics.
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