The EU, the US and Partnership in Development Cooperation: Bridging the Gap? [Dec. 2014]


Karen Del Biondo

Postdoctoral Scholar at CDDRL, 2012-2013

Postdoctoral Fellow, KFG Transformative Power of Europe, Free University of Berlin, 2013-2014


Internationally, there has been an increasing call for ‘partnership’ in development cooperation. This refers to development cooperation based on negotiation with the recipient government on an equal basis. While both the E.U. and the U.S. have formally committed to this principle, the E.U. is known to be a frontrunner in partnership-based development, while the U.S. was found to be rather slow in implementing this agenda. This paper investigates the degree to which E.U. and U.S. development policies reflect partnership, particularly regarding general features, aid characteristics, conditionality and aid selectivity and aid motives. It finds that, while E.U. development cooperation has traditionally been stronger focused on partnership than it is the case for the U.S., in recent years the gap is narrowing. On the one hand, E.U. development policies have increasingly resembled those of the U.S., as E.U. development assistance is becoming more focused on security and there are increasing conditions on budget support. While U.S. development policies are still strongly driven by security motives, the U.S. has recently madeefforts to increase country ownership.