chapter  5
Development Discourse in Romania: From Socialism to EU Membership
ByMirela Oprea
Pages 17

The aid market is said to literally be ‘crush[ed]’ under some 90,000 aid projects a year (Frot and Santiso 2009), financed by no less than 200 aid agencies (Riddell 2007, pp. 51-53). One may wonder if additional official donors are needed, but here is what happened a few years ago: Twelve European countries, ‘new’ member states of the European Union (EU), joined the aid industry as official donors. The 12 see themselves and are seen by the other players as ‘new’ donors. In what follows, we will look into this ‘newness’. We will do so primarily by means

of historical data and discourse analysis, with the underlying assumption that language is not merely a reflection or expression of social processes, but a part of these processes; it is a social process in itself, while also being socially conditioned. Analysing language is no less important than analysing politics: Politics consists partly of the disputes and struggles that occur in and over language (Fairclough

2001). The ‘new donors’ label attached to the 12 new member states (NMS) did not occur by chance – it is the pointer to and the trigger of a specific discourse that has the power of excluding other possible interpretations. As this paper will show, the term, ‘new donors’, can be seen to be historically inaccurate (at least some of the EU12 were thought to be donors before 1989) and inadequate today because the present-day ‘newness’ is ‘contaminated’ by massive imports of ‘old donor’ ideology.

2. How Old are the ‘New’ EU Donors?