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MACKIE J. - The EU and International Development (25h)

With over 50% of global ODA (official development assistance) the European Union is now established as the world’s largest actor in international development cooperation. The sector is an important element of EU external relations and a core component of what is often referred to as the EU’s ‘soft power’. Yet the full realisation of this potential power has often been elusive as Member States have traditionally been reluctant to give up sovereignty in this sector and the integration process has been slow. The claim is now also threatened by the expected departure of the Member State with, currently, the largest aid budget, that is the UK. This optional course thus seeks to introduce students to the role of the European Union in international development cooperation, give them an appreciation of the contribution that the EU makes to this important area of global affairs and help them develop an understanding of how the internal organisation and dynamics of the sector have evolved to give European development cooperation its current status as an area of shared competence between the EU institutions and Member States. A central thread running through the course will be to explore whether or not, and despite the threat of Brexit, further integration in this field of Union external action would improve performance and serve the best interests of developing countries.

From small beginnings as a side programme to ‘associate’ a group of overseas states and territories to the new Community of the six signatories of the Treaty of Rome, European development cooperation has evolved into an increasingly integrated assembly of bilateral and community partnership programmes covering all regions of the developing world and with a particular focus on cooperation with Africa. With the growing scale and widening scope of this common effort has also come increased influence in the OECD DAC, the UN and other international development fora where the EU is now a major driver of policy debate and reform. Inside the EU, development cooperation has also had to find its place in the increasingly complex world of EU external relations, working hand in hand not just with external commercial policy, but, in the past decade, with other areas of concern such as humanitarian assistance, foreign and security policy or migration policy. The Lisbon Treaty opened up a new chapter with the European Commission having to share its responsibility for development cooperation with the new European External Action Service.

With the agreement in 2015 of a new set of UN Global Goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals this is an important threshold moment in the debate on international development cooperation. The course will therefore also seek to introduce students to the main emerging strands of thinking in this wider global debate and the impact these are likely to have on European international cooperation.

Professor: James MACKIE

ECTS Card 2018-19