From the category archives:

EU institutional change

June 8, 2012

Charting change at the European External Action Service (EEAS)

Posted: 13:54 PM UTC

by Andrew Sherriff on June 8, 2012

Organisational charts in general can’t tell you much about what happens behind the scenes in a company or an institution. They don’t show who is in or out of favour, they don’t map influence and informal lines of communication dictating priorities.  However, when looking at previous versions and updates, they help to understand how an organisation is evolving, or at least the formal thinking about how it should. Last week the EEAS published a new version of its organisational chart (dated 1st of May 2012), displaying its internal structure and stating the names of key ...


April 27, 2012

JAES: We have a strategy, now we need a strategic partnership

Posted: 16:12 PM UTC

by Simone Gortz on April 27, 2012

The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) is quite the opposite of what Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, warned of in his now famous speech on the EU’s strategic partners. In the case of the JAES, a policy framework in place since 2007, the strategy is spelled out in Action Plans. Yet the process and political direction of the strategy could be optimized. The JAES is meant to be the EU’s strategy towards Africa as much as Africa’s strategy towards the EU. This concept would mean that the partnership reflects both partners’ priorities. This, ...

{ 1 comment }

February 3, 2012

Spotlight on the division of labour between the EEAS and DG DEVCO

Posted: 15:53 PM UTC

by Melissa Julian on February 3, 2012

Development and poverty reduction should be a priority of European external affairs, according to the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. An indication of whether this is actually the case and what priorities are being pursued by Europe is given by how the EU plans its external aid programmes and how it allocates financial resources. Both are cornerstones of the political dialogue between the EU and its partner countries, and shape the character of cooperation. On the European side, two institutions have a say when it comes to planning aid: the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation-EuropeAid ...

{ 1 comment }

January 13, 2012

On the EEAS’ 1st birthday: have EU-Africa relations benefitted from the past year?

Posted: 13:14 PM UTC

by Andrew Sherriff on January 13, 2012

In the various analyses of the European External Action Service (EEAS) one year on, those who view the glass “half empty” (mostly independent analysts, journalists and think tanks) seem to have the upper hand on those who view it as “half full” (the official report).  Key questions for assessing the EEAS’ performance in relation to Africa are: has the EEAS helped to upgrade the political dialogue between the EU and Africa, and increased the coherence of EU policies, while also furthering development commitments? Africa as a whole, like many other regions and issues, has struggled ...

{ 1 comment }

December 9, 2011

New instruments proposed for EU external action – do we know enough about what worked with the old ones?

Posted: 16:27 PM UTC

by Niels Keijzer on December 9, 2011

No, we don’t know enough about the results achieved through the EU’s old external action instruments. But that does not inhibit an evidence-based discussion on the future instruments, which can still be revised as they are currently subject of debate between the different EU institutions. On Wednesday, the European Commission presented proposals to amend the rules guiding the spending for EU external action from 2014-2020, the timeframe of the next EU budget. In expert jargon, these rules are called “financial instruments”, and there are 10 such instruments, each for a specific area of intervention. The ...


++ SERIES: ECDPM ANALYSIS OF NEW EU DEVELOPMENT POLICY REFORM PROPOSALS ++ When it comes to violent conflict, the common mantra is that prevention is better (and cheaper) than cure. This is also illustrated by the findings of a recent evaluation of support to conflict prevention and peace building. In Georgia, for instance, the contracted amounts to be spent by the European Commission increased from €19 million in 2007 before the escalation of a conflict with Russia, to €72 million in 2008, the year of the clashes, and €116 in 2009 as a result of ...


November 18, 2011

A new EU impetus on conflict and fragility, or more of the same? Part 1: institutions and evaluation

Posted: 14:19 PM UTC

by Andrew Sherriff on November 18, 2011

++ SERIES: ECDPM ANALYSIS OF NEW EU DEVELOPMENT POLICY REFORM PROPOSALS ++ The Arab spring and recent evolutions in Europe’s development policy have focussed those concerned with EU external action on new EU buzzwords of “deep democracy” and “inclusive growth”. Yet other developments over the last 12 months provide somewhat of an indication of how the EU institutions plan to deal with longer-term approaches to conflict and fragility. This article outlines the EU’s approach and takes a closer look at the institutional setup and discusses findings of a recent evaluation. The challenge of dealing with ...

{ 1 comment }

November 8, 2011

Questioning old certainties – Challenges Inbrief 2012

Posted: 12:49 PM UTC

by ECDPM Challenges Team on November 8, 2011

ECDPM is currently reflecting on the content and orientation of the next issue of its annual Challenges Inbrief. This publication is published at the start of each year, and aims to identify key issues for policy making for EU-Africa relations in the year ahead. The paper, in traditional ECDPM style, aims to be informative and ‘facilitating’, helping readers identify key debates and moments in EU development cooperation and external action. The writing process provides us with an opportunity to take a step back from our day to day work to look forward and to reflect ...


July 29, 2011

Piebalgs presents details on future EU development policy

Posted: 12:14 PM UTC

by Melissa Julian on July 29, 2011

EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, discussed the development cooperation aspects of the European Commission’s (EC) Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020 with members of the European Parliament’s Development Committee on 12 July. These strongly correspond to the proposals on the future of EU development policy the EC is currently considering, and aims to table in September. ECDPM’s Jeske van Seters provided an outline of the MFF’s development provisions in a previous Talking Points blog post, so we won’t here re-summarise the Commissioner’s presentation on this, but instead highlight additional points he made in the debate with ...


July 8, 2011

The EU financial framework 2014 – 2020: what’s in it for development cooperation?

Posted: 15:33 PM UTC

by Jeske van Seters on July 8, 2011

On 29 June, the Commission came out with a Communication on the EU financial framework for the period 2014 – 2020. The media around Europe particularly picked up on a proposal presented in the Communication to introduce a financial transactions tax and a new VAT to finance part of the EU budget. This will reduce the direct contributions from Member States, which are based on the countries’ Gross National Income (GNI) and their national VAT resources. What also caught attention is the proposed level of EU spending. The Commission presents a multi-annual financial framework (MFF) ...