Aid has traditionally been one of the most important tools of European foreign policy. The European Union and its member countries are among the most important donors. Their proactive role has allowed the EU to achieve several important results even in countries usually neglected by traditional bilateral cooperation and most NGOs. Nevertheless, the reduction of available resources caused by the sovereign debt crisis in many European countries, together with the profound changes affecting the architecture of the international aid system, are crucial challenges to the role that Europe is going to play in this field. The EU needs to move beyond a mere quantitative criterion to evaluate its interventions, by addressing the fragmentation characterising its international aid activities in order to make them more effective and efficient. The EU’s cooperation capabilities in other important areas, such as defence and immigration, will also need to be enhanced. In order to do so, the traditional struggle for sovereignty between the European Union and its members will have to be seriously addressed, as since the crisis in the latter has been making national governments even less willing to renounce, at least partially, their own specific aid policy – and the ensuing political leverage.
*Iñigo Macías-Aymar, Associate lecturer, Institut Barcelona.
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