A Special Issue of the Journal of Contemporary European Research (JCER) deals with the future of the European Union’s international development cooperation. Dr. Mark Furness, researcher at German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), together with Luciana-Alexandra Ghica (University of Bucharest), Simon Lightfoot (University of Leeds) and Balázs Szent-Iványi (Aston University), co-edited the issue.
The publication’s objective is to highlight the complex dynamics of a policy area that is called on to address the massive challenges of poverty, inequality, healthcare capacity, climate change, insecurity, and weak governance in countries of the global south. At the same time the policy area is supposed to support European foreign policy objectives including political stability, migration management, access to resources and markets.
In their editorial, Furness and colleagues outline the conceptual and practical dilemmas faced by a policy area that is supposed to be able to fix almost any problem. They observe that European development policy’s evolution is driven by the tension between its raison d’être as a concrete expression of global solidarity and international cooperation, and its increasing instrumentalisation in the service of European economic and security interests. They conclude that the battle between the forces of solidarity and instrumentality has evolved EU development policy into an impossibly complex arena of competing norms, practices and institutions, which raises many open questions for future research and policymaking. The contributions to the Special Issue explore key issues that have brought the solidarity-instrumentality dilemma into focus in various ways in the decade since the Lisbon Treaty. They also highlight aspects of the processes through which the European Union is evolving, both as an international development actor and as a policymaking system.