Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 02/2012

The European Development Fund: Perspectives and the Changing Landscape of EU-ACP Relations

Karolina Werner

December 2011

The Polish Institute of International Affairs


The European Development Fund is arguably one of the most potent tools of the European Union’s policy towards the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific region. As the member states and the EU institutions prepare to make a decision on the future shape and scope of the EDF, the following analysis lays out the intricacies of the EU-ACP relationship from its outset, and addresses the key elements of the debate within the decision-making and expert circles. The EDF is plagued by general inconsistency of the EU policy towards these regions, and suffers from all-too-familiar shortcomings such as extensive bureaucracy and ineffective programming of aid. Despite these challenges, the EDF has established itself as a fairly predictable and versatile instrument for channeling of aid, and one which adequately addresses the needs of most of the ACP countries. Still, some reforms, such as greater diversification between the three regions involved, could be necessary, all this while the EU member states stand by their commitments to development aid.