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Institutional architecture of European Development Cooperation

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Sunday, 31 July 2005

Institutional architecture of European Development Cooperation

The institutional architecture of European development cooperation comprises: political leadership provided by the Council; the Commission in Brussels; the network of field offices; the supervision and decision-making arrangements for Member States; and the European Parliament. All of these have undergone changes, especially since the appointment of the Prodi Commission in 1999. Recent developments include the creation of a single implementing office for aid, EuropeAid, and the deconcentration of authority to delegations located in developing countries. However, there have been a number of concerns expressed, in particular regarding: the abolition of a separate Development Council and the integration of development cooperation into the General
Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC), attended by Foreign Ministers; the division of responsibilities (and the balance of interests) among commissioners for foreign policy, trade and development; and the weakness of the European Parliament’s political supervision.
2004/05 is of key importance, seeing as it does the appointment of a new Commission and the resolution of the Financial Perspectives for 2007–13. ‘Budgetisation’ of the European Development Fund looks likely, incorporating what has hitherto been a separate development fund into the main EU budget; this would give the European Parliament a greater voice but could reduce the share of aid going to the poorest countries if funds are not ring-fenced. The eventual approval of a new constitution and the appointment of a European foreign minister will also have an impact on the institutional architecture.