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Friday, 25 February 2011

EU development policy - less talk, more action?

The EU's member states need to take a critical look at their own policy objectives and implementation strategies, and how these fit within a broader European context. It is easy to criticize the European Union (EU). Its detractors disparage it for being too bureaucratic, not transparent, too expensive, too distant from European citizens and not very democratic. Yet, it appears that EU development policy-making is more open to public scrutiny and evidence-based guidance than the development policy of many EU member states. January 2011 brought to an end three major public consultation processes – all initiated by the European Commission – on the funding of EU external action after 2013, and on Green Papers on the future of EU development policy and the future of EU budget support. The consultations called for views and evidence from member state ministries, think tanks, universities, development agencies, non-governmental organizations and the general public, including in developing countries, as to how to improve the overall focus, impact and quality of the EU's development policy package. The outcomes of the consultations are intended to feed into the upcoming negotiations over the EU's budget for 2014-2020 and a proposal from the Commission to be tabled in the summer on how to modernize EU development policy. There is certainly room for improvement in the orientation and implementation of the Commission's development policy. But the EU as a whole cannot improve its effectiveness as a development actor without member states taking a critical look at their own policy objectives and implementation strategies, and how these fit within a broader European development agenda.

Source: DW World