Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
3-HP108: Partnerships or Development in EU External Relations?
Tuesday, 06/July/2021:
2:00pm - 3:15pm

Session Chair: Prof. Simon Lightfoot, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Session Chair: Prof. Sarah Delputte, Ghent University, Belgium
Session Chair: Prof. Jörg Faust, DEval, Germany
Session Chair: Prof. Nadia Molenaers, Univeristy of Antwerpn, Belgium

Session Abstract

This harvest panel focuses on the recent use of the term partnerships in the context of development cooperation policy in the EU. Rhetorically at least this potentially signals a greater commitment to solidarity and social justice on the part of the EU. We invite papers that explore the context of the EU foreign and development policy changing from normative exceptionalism to a more interest-driven approach. The increasingly challenging environment for EU member states and institutions to find common ground in this policy sphere, the negotiations of a new partnership with the ACP countries and the Commission’s proposal for a major overhaul of the EU’s financial architecture for external action all point to the EU being at a crossroads.

EADI Working Groups: the European Union as a Development Actor and Development Cooperation Policies and Performance

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Responsibility for Sustainability: Assessing Agency in West-Africa’s Fisheries Relations with the EU

Sarah Delputte1, Lina Galvis2, Niels Keijzer3

1Ghent University, Belgium; 2UNU-CRIS; 3GDI

Although the relative economic importance of its own distance water fleet is declining, the EU remains a significant market for fisheries products. The realisation of the EU’s sustainable development and value chain ambitions necessitates a better understanding of the impact of its fisheries policies and standards abroad, and of the preferences and agency of coastal states in this regard. This paper aims to investigate to what extent and how West-African agency matters to the EU's fishing activities in the Gulf of Guinea. More specifically, it analyses the responsibility to sustainable fisheries within the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, countries respectively without and with a fisheries agreement with the EU. To this end, the paper proposes a framework foregrounding the responsibility for sustainable fisheries and the agency of coastal states, the structural constrains of their specific context, as well as the interactions between the various actors involved, including the EU and European fishers/fleets. Our preliminary findings suggest that, while fisheries management in both states can be considered both de jure and de facto deregulated, other economic interests – notably off-shore gas and oil exploitation – may lead to increases in the states’ capacity and efforts to monitor external fishing. The paper thus presents new evidence of how the EU’s general approach to external fisheries is shaped ‘on the water’.

NGOs and the EU’s Migration-related Trust Funds: Contestation or Engagement?

Balazs Szent-Ivanyi

Aston University, United Kingdom

The paper examines how Northern development NGOs have contested the shift away from solidarity with the Global South towards self-interest in the EU’s international development policy, with a focus on the EU’s migration-related Trust Funds. With an increasing emphasis on security, managing migration, and funding private sector companies, the EU’s development policy has been moving towards what some view as a more interest-based approach. The EU’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and its Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis have especially been explicit in terms of placing regional stability and addressing the causes of irregular migration and displaced persons at the forefront, as opposed to supporting the rights and livelihoods of the poor. Northern NGOs have traditionally been seen as the “voices of the South”, and so would be expected to contest these changes, favouring development policies which focus on the needs of the poor.

The goal of the paper is to examine how NGOs have actually contested the EU’s Trust Funds, focusing on NGO advocacy and subsequent engagement with the funds. In terms of advocacy, the paper analyses how the two Trust Funds are framed in NGO publications, including press releases, reports and analysis published by CONCORD, the European development NGO advocacy platform, as well as selected large NGO networks (such as Oxfam, World Vision and Save the Children). In terms of engagement, the paper examines how active and successful NGOs have been in bidding for funding from the Trust Funds, and what are the typical projects which they implement. Data for this analyses is taken from the online project repositories of the Trust Funds and the EU’s Financial Transparency System.

The main emerging finding is that NGOs have been highly critical about the goals of both Trust Funds, and have denounced them as a “political hook” which promises a quick fix to protracted problems requiring long term support and engagement. NGOs have also argued that the Trust Funds have the potential to cause more harm than good. Despite these misgivings however, a significant number of NGOs have successfully bid for implementing projects funded by the Trust Funds. The projects NGOs implement have generally been in the field of creating employment, improving livelihoods and providing better healthcare. These areas are mostly seen as reconcilable with the way NGOs approach development, and they have generally stayed away from more controversial topics, such as projects aiming at supporting the repatriation of migrants.

Geopolitics of Czech Democracy Aid

Zdenek Oprsal, Jaromir Harmacek

Palacky University Olomouc, Czech Republic

The contribution deals with determinants of Czech democracy aid allocations. Democracy aid is a subtype of foreign aid, its aim is a support of accountable governance and transitions of authoritarian regimes towards democracy. Democracy aid is a more sensitive form of aid than any other form because it promotes a certain kind of governance and ultimately aims at removing authoritarian governments. Geographical biases have been suggested in various studies aimed at democracy assistance provided by Central and Eastern European donors, we performed first quantitative study which confirms these observations. Determinants of foreign aid flows were identified by the literature review and subsequently tested by regression analysis. The results show that the Czech Republic provides more democracy aid to less free and less democratic countries. Moreover, Czech democracy aid is to a considerable degree influenced by geopolitical consideration. The Czech Republic provides significantly more democracy aid to former member countries of the Soviet Union and to countries in geographic proximity. The findings provide empirical evidence that Czech diplomacy uses democracy aid (at least in part) as a geopolitical tool to leverage Russia's influence in the post-Soviet space. In addition, democracy aid also served as a tool to meet international security commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Path Dependence and Contestation in EU International Cooperation from Aid to Partnership

Sebastian Steingass

College of Europe (Natolin), Poland

The European Union (EU) seeks to adjust its external policies to the shifting challenges of the international order. The EU’s Global Strategy and the proposed single financial instrument for the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation are bids towards using the EU’s resources for a concerted, geo-strategic foreign policy. International development cooperation is a key resource in this contestation process due to the financial means and competence that the EU has acquired in this area. At the same time, the international cooperation paradigm has been contested in the context of sustainable development and post-development narratives, which further contributes to the contestation of EU development cooperation. Yet, in the EU, historical remnants such as the traditional relationship with the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) have remained and need to be fitted into the shifting orientation. Brexit invites questions to the extent to which the UK’s membership has shaped the EU’s external relations through advancing and preserving its development cooperation. A key question is how this path dependence affects the contestation over the place of development cooperation in the EU’s external relations. Analysing the evolution of those historically grown elements that underpin the EU’s international cooperation is relevant to understand the contestation of the place of development in the EU’s external relations. This contributes to answering how and on what grounds EU foreign policy is contested in current international relations and what are the drivers of this contestation.

Localizing Development: Support Of The European Union To Local Democracy And Good Governance Through Decentralized Cooperation

Magdalena Maria Kania

Jagiellonian University, Poland

Since the mid-70s, the European Commission has supported the cooperation between the European local and regional authorities (LRAs) and their counterparts in partner regions. However, only recently the EU institutions raised their interest in supporting the scale and scope of decentralized cooperation. It poses questions of how the EU perceives the added value of LRAs in development cooperation, and how the principles of the EU New Consensus on Development adhere to decentralized cooperation. Through decentralized cooperation, the EU declares support to local governance and local democracy. Close to the people, LRAs are presented as promoters of the politically desired values - from democracy to efficient public administration.

The article aims to trace the evolution of the EU support towards decentralized cooperation in the light of the EU adherence to the principles contributing to the sustainability of development at the local level: democracy, good governance, rule of law and human rights. The article poses a question of how through decentralized cooperation and support of LRAs the EU attempts to promote local democracy, good governance, and the protection of human rights. The article is based on the qualitative analysis of the EU documents, communications, policy notes, working documents, briefings, evaluation reports, regional strategies, assessment reports, budget specifications.
The timeframe of the article covers period from 1989 to present. 1989 was set as the launch of decentralized cooperation indicated in the IV Lome Convention, and following programs to Latin America (1994), Asia (1997), and the Meditteraean (1994). The article analyzes deeply two types of sources. First, the article reviews documents provided by the European Union to track the EU discourse on the added-value of and expectation from support to decentralized cooperation. Second, it focuses on the working documents, conclusions, reports and other relevant documents provided in aftermath of meetings and dialogues between the EU and LRAs (i.e. Structured Dialogue 2011; Assises on Development Cooperation 2009-2017; Forum on Cities and Regions in Development Cooperation 2019). Therefore, the article concludes with the comparison of how divergent are the discourses of the EU and LRAs concerning their cooperation.

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