Disperately Seeking Policy Coherence

Aid and Security in the Development Policy of the European Union

Background paper to the ERD2009


Maurizio CARBONE – University of Glasgow, Department of Politics


Paper prepared for the Workshop on “Transforming Political Structures: Security, Institutions, and Regional Integration Mechanisms”, organised by the European Report of Development in Florence, Italy, 16-17 April 2009.


In their search of policy coherence for development, international donors often fall into rhetorical traps. The claim that non-aid policies should contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals is noble, but often unrealistic. This paper looks at how the European Union, treated here as a single development actor, addresses the needs of fragile states, in the context of its search for better coherence between aid and security. The argument is that the division of labour and joint programming, together with the commitments on volume of aid, represent a turning point in the relations between the European Union and the developing world. In particular, if the implementation gap was closed, these commitments would address most of the challenges that fragile states face in the current aid regime. In this sense, the EU would provide fragile states with adequate resources, reduce the risks of aid volatility, offer a mixture of instruments, promote ownership, ultimately achieving better policy coherence.

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