New Instruments, New Trajectories? The Ongoing Evolution of the EU’s Aid Policy
All aid agencies must work in an environment of flux, and this applies to their own organizational framework as well as the context in the developing world. Such mutability is especially marked for EU aid policy-makers as the Union itself is still evolving, reforming and mutating. Changes related to the global environment, European integration and EU external relations policies have all lead to ongoing pressure to further reform aid policy. The new vision was first proposed by the European Commission in 2004 (Commission 2004j). Buoyed on by the relative success of its recent reforms, the Commission called for the radical consolidation of EU aid instruments, based on geographical lines. Consolidation did occur in 2006 with new legislation for a reduced number of instruments; however the changes were not exactly those sought by the Commission. This chapter analyses the thinking behind the reforms and to what extent they are geared to facilitate the use of aid for structural power. It also studies to what extent the changes will address shortcomings highlighted previously. As always the reality is complex and there are contradictory tendencies. There are substantial pressures from global institutions and European civil society to increase the purely developmental focus of EU aid. Yet the power projection element of aid policy is still prominent, although it is mediated through new policy frameworks and linked with other objectives.