“The European Union as a Development Actor” Working Group


EADI-ISS Conference 2020 postponed

Read more: EADI-ISS Conference 2020 postponed
30 Mar 2020

The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has forced EADI and ISS to postpone their joint conference planned for late June/early July (in The Hague) to next year (5-8 July 2021).

This implies that the Development Dialogue (PhD conference) as well as other events linked to the EADI-ISS conference also will be postponed to next year. The unanimous decision by EADI and ISS also was driven by the conviction to leave no-one behind: especially the Global South is hit hard by the current crisis. The EADI-ISS Conference Team is convinced all preparations and lessons of the past years will contribute to an even more successful and inspiring event in 2021.

EU development policy at a crossroad, without a compass?

Read more: EU development policy at a crossroad, without a compass?
24 Apr 2019

Launch event of the EADI Working Group “The European Union as a Development Actor”, Ljubljana, 4 April

According to Working Group co-convenor Maja Bucar, the European Union (EU) is widely considered to be an important actor in international development policy. EU policy-makers take pride in the EU being “the world’s largest donor” and the recent OECD-DAC Peer Review (2018) emphasized the EU’s “leadership” in development cooperation.

About this Working Group

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.


Prof Maja Bucar
Faculty of Social Sciences
University of Ljubljana

Dr Sarah Delputte
Ghent University

Dr Simon Lightfoot
POLIS, University of Leeds, UK

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