A Global Overview of EU Aid Policy
The EU’s institutional architecture still derives from the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, which launched the European Union itself. Maastricht resulted in a rather messy three pillar structure. Pillar one was the European Community (the essential structures of the European Economic Community and other Communities), while pillars two and three involved separate procedures for the Common Foreign Security Policy and Justice and Home Affairs respectively. In reality the distinction between each pillar inclined to blur (in terms of institutional roles and policy) but the legal distinction is clear. Pillar one is governed by the European Community Treaty while the overarching Treaty on European Union outlines the rules for the other pillars. The member state Council is still the highest executive power and the state which holds the 6-monthly Council Presidency also has agenda setting powers with regard to EU external affairs. The bulk of Council decisions are made by its lower level bodies of national diplomats and experts (Hayes-Renshaw and Wallace 2006). Within Pillar 1, the Council must combine with the two primary supranational institutions, the European Commission and the European Parliament,
to form EU law and policy.1 The European Commission has a prominent role in aid and other external policies and thus is the focus of much of this chapter. It is a hybrid organization, with a variety of institutions and roles; including proposing legislation, implementing policies, representing the EU and enforcing compliance with EU law. In practice these institutions are interconnected and on the whole pillar one has a strong legalized and integrated dimension. Of course there has been immense debate as to how to interpret this degree of institutional integration in terms of its effect on sovereignty (Rosamond 2000). For our purpose the main interest is to what degree it allows for a strategically directed external relations policy.