The EU is negotiating its budget for 2014 to 2020. Although not part of the EU budget itself, the negotiations on the EDF, the financial arm of the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and 78 countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) form an important part of the broader budget debate.

In this Background Note, Mikaela Gavas analyses the proposals by the European Commission  for the 11th EDF (2014-2020) and reviews the current state of play on the design of future funding to the ACP.

Click here to read the EDCSP team’s monthly update for November

The European Commission’s new proposed development strategy – Agenda for Change – puts ‘inclusive and sustainable growth for human development’ at its centre. At the 2012 European Development Days conference, the European Think-Tanks Group hosted a high-level panel debate putting the word ‘inclusive’ under the spotlight, focusing specifically on the challenge to EU development policy posed by inequality in developing countries.

Read the panel report here.

The European Commission’s new proposed development strategy – Agenda for Change – puts ‘inclusive and sustainable growth for human development’ at its centre. At the 2012 European Development Days conference, the European Think-Tanks Group hosted a high-level panel debate putting the word ‘inclusive’ under the spotlight, focusing specifically on the challenge to EU development policy posed by inequality in developing countries.

Watch the debate here.

EDCSP will host a public event on 25 June from 14:30 to 16:00 examining the recent inquiries into EU development cooperation by the IDC, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee and the OECD-DAC’s peer review.

The panel includes:

  • Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Bruce MP – Chair of the International Development Select Committee in the House of Commons
  • Thijs Berman MEP – Member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Development (DEVE)
  • Karen Jorgensen, Head of Division, Review, Evaluation and Engagement (REDD), Development Cooperation Directorate, OECD
  • Lord Hollick – Member of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee
  • Simon Maxwell (chair) – Senior Research Associate, ODI

To register online or for more details click here.

At the end of 2011 the European Commission published a Communication on the future of EU budget support. It recommended that budget support be tied to the political conditions in recipient countries, particularly those related to human rights and democratic values.

The European Think-Tanks Group, in collaboration with the Institute of Development and Policy Management, look at the implications of this new approach on EU development assistance in this report

The International Development Committee has published a report on EU development assistance.

In the report, the Committee calls on the UK Government to press for funding to be diverted, away from higher middle income countries bordering Europe, and reallocated to poorer developing countries. In order to make this happen, the MPs say Ministers must challenge and change the definition of Official Development Assistance.

Read the IDC’s report and press release, and a submission to the inquiry from ODI’s Sian Herbert and Romilly Greenhill here.

EDCSP has relaunched its report looking at “EU Blending Facilities: Implications for Future Governance Options”, following the launch of the European Commission’s public consultations into a ‘Proposed EU Platform for External Cooperation and Development’ to oversee blending of loans and grants.

The report offers an independent contribution to the EU’s internal discussions on its future mechanisms for the complementary use of grants and loans (blending). It reviews the existing EU blending mechanisms, comparing their different governance arrangements, drawing lessons from each, and considers the pros and cons of possible future governance options for blending operations.

Read the report here.

Click here to read the EDCSP team’s monthly update for April

Those arguing for better coordination of aid and for a greater multilateral share have long based their arguments on claims about savings in transactions costs or greater efficiency in allocation. For example, the big EU push on Division of Labour, back in 2007, was based on this argument. A calculation by consultants HTSPE suggested that the EU could save €3-6bn  a year by reducing donor and sector proliferation.

A study in 2011 by Bigsten, Platteau and Bengstam, again for the EU, deepened and updated the analysis. EDCSP has commissioned a review of the new study, by Annalisa Prizzon and Romilly Greenhill from ODI.

Click here to read Annalisa and Romilly’s commentary.

Click here to read the EDCSP team’s monthly update for March

Out of the blue a significant number of EU Member States have begun advocating for the European Development Fund to be incorporated within the main EU budget – not in 2021, as previously discussed, but as early as 2014, when the new Multi-Annual Financial Framework comes into force. Is this some kind of conversion to rational analysis? A device to reduce spending through Brussels? Or a clever negotiating strategy designed to achieve something else entirely?

Read Simon and Siân’s analysis in this EDCSP Opinion.

As discussions over Denmark’s new international development policy continue, Siân talks to Danish development news site U-landsnyt about the EU’s proposed policy of ‘differentiation’ and future cooperation with MICs. Read the interview here (in Danish).

In December, the European Commission unveiled its package of legislative proposals on the EU’s external action instruments for the period 2014-20 as part of the negotiations on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF), the EU’s spending review. Mikaela Gavas has written an ODI Background Note analysing the changes introduced by the instruments of direct relevance to international development.

The International Development Committee recently called Simon Maxwell and Siân Herbert to give oral evidence at a session for the inquiry into EU development assistance.

The session covered a vast array of issues including:

  • The EU’s new development strategy – An Agenda for Change;
  •  The comparative advantages of the EC, compared to both bilateral and multiateral donors;
  •  The differences between the EU’s central development instruments, and the European Development Fund (EDF);
  • How the EU should deal with middle-incomes countries;
  • Administration costs – looking at the tricky task of comparing DFID to the European Commission’s development projects; and
  • Policy coherence for development.

Click here for a transcript of the session.

On 2 February, Siân Herbert gave a presentation at a workshop in Copenhagen, discussing the EU’s new policy on ‘differentiation’ (‘Differentiation’ means reassessing aid to middle income countries). The workshop was hosted by Concord Denmark, the Danish NGO platform for EU development work, and attended by a variety of Danish NGOs.

The objective of the workshop was to define a common position on differentiation. The NGOs present were open to the changes proposed by the European Commission, and support revaluating aid to MICs. At the end of the workshop, the decision was taken that Concord Denmark will not engage with the debate regarding the proposed criteria for aid allocation, but will instead focus on where the funds should be redirected. Concord advised that they are engaged in discussions with the European Commission, ahead of the release of a communication on CSOs later this year.

The EU’s policy on differentiation has also been discussed recently by Andy Sumner, Andris Piebalgs and Simon Maxwell.

Siân’s presentation is available here.

Following the release of the European Commission’s communication on trade, growth and development, Dirk Willem te Velde examines how the policy plans to respond to a growing differentiation amongst countries and a growing list of global challenges in this ODI blog.

Click here to read the EDCSP team’s monthly update for February

Simon Maxwell and Mikaela Gavas recently spent two days at the European Parliament, meeting MEPs and Committee Secretariat staff. Their objectives were (a) to understand better how the EP works, (b) to map who is doing what on the current EU agenda, especially the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, (c) to exchange views on the MFF, and (d) to explore the potential for a European Think-Tanks Group initiative linking the EP and national parliaments.

Read more in this trip report.

On 16 December, EDCSP jointly hosted a panel debate, as part of the European Think-Tanks Group and with French research institute Ferdi, looking at ‘Modernising European Development Policy’, at the European Development Days conference in Warsaw.

To watch a video of the debate, click here.

Click here to read the EDCSP team’s monthly update for December

As the European Commission is on the eve of releasing legislative proposals on the future financial instruments and regulations for external action, researchers from the European Think-Tanks Group identify six key points for Members of the European Parliament to keep an eye on.

Read more here.

Also published by EurActiv.

On 29 November, EDCSP, as part of the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG), together with Thijs Berman MEP, hosted a roundtable debate in the European Parliament on the development aspects of the proposals on the EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework.

To see the ETTG’s presentation, click here.

Click here to read the EDCSP team’s monthly update for November

In this ODI blog, Heidi Tavakoli analyses the European Commission’s new strategy for budget support.

As one of the biggest providers of budget support, any policy changes by the EC will not only affect the budget support landscape, but may also drive changes in many of its member states. Heidi notes that the new proposal introduces two significant changes: firstly, the EC proposes that budget support becomes a political instrument; and secondly, as with DFID, the EC will change the name of its budget support instruments to better reflect its objectives. Read more here to see how this could be both a ‘name changer’ and a ‘game changer’.

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