Toward more effective EU aid for countries in transition

One of the protesters gathered at Tahrir Square during the first anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. The European Union has launched a menu of policies and tools for supporting countries in transition. Photo by: Muhammad Moneib / CC BY-NC-ND

The European Union already has a menu of policies and tools for supporting countries in transition. But how can the bloc improve and make better use of these mechanisms?

A new joint communication by the European Commission and the EU High Representative for foreign and security policy attempts to answer this question. It presents concrete proposals on how these tools can be better mobilized while supporting the principles of country ownership.

The communication also highlights the need to tailor these tools to the unique situation of a given partner country. To this end, the European Commission is proposing the swift deployment of a joint EU services mission in the initial state of a partner country’s transition.

Another proposal is to secure “quick wins” backed by longer-term development plans. Areas where the European Union can achieve these short-term achievements include elections, employment and basic services, the communication says.

The communication also proposes financial, economic or political incentives for progress on reforms and sanctions for failure to meet certain targets. The European Union already offers incentives, but the proposal says these tools can be improved by making sure rewards are unambiguous and attached to real performance, among other factors.

Here are other proposals outlined in the communication:

  • Create mechanisms that will help ensure civil society can actively participate in the transition process.

  • Set up a broader platform for the exchange of information and experiences on transition.

  • Employ the concept of twinning to link public institutions within the European Union to partner countries.

  • Improve coordination between the European Commission and EU member states to avoid duplication and contradiction of aid policies and programs.

The communication was released Oct. 3, the same day the European Commission forwarded a resilience-building proposal to the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.