The European Union as a Development Actor

The European Union EU faces many challenges in this policy space: the future of the ACP-EU Partnership, the implementation of the SDGs, building closer relations with neighbouring countries, engaging with rising powers, coping with increasing migration, facing up to climate change and responding to crisis and conflict.

What are the core questions?

The development studies community rarely focuses explicitly on the EU as an actor, despite of the following core issues:

  • the EU is the largest donor in the world, 
  • its unique double role by being both a donor on its own and a coordinator of member states’ development policies, with all the complexities this brings about,
  • its unique history with developing countries.


The working group aims to fill this gap. It will examine the EU as a development actor post 2020 and Analyse how the EU is reacting and adapting to internal and external challenges by:

  1. Exploring how the EU and its member states manage relationships with key geographical groupings (ACP; MENA; Eastern Partnership; SE Asia; Latin and South America).
  2. Examining the links between development policies and the Global Strategy, the SDGs and other external factors.
  3. Complementing the work of other WGs by examining how policy coherence/incoherence impacts upon the nature of the EU as a development actor (trade; migration; security etc).
  4. The interaction between EU and member state development policies including those of accession states (Turkey in particular).

All researchers interested in the proposed topics are welcome to participate and to join in activities of the group. The group particularly welcomes researchers associated with universities and research institutes in the South, but also practitioners working in relevant agencies.