European Parliament Workshop on “EU Policy Coherence for Development: The Challenge of Sustainability”, contributions by Maurizio Carbone and Mark Furness



TEPSA recently coordinated the participation of Prof. Maurizio Carbone (University of Glasgow) and Mark Furness (Senior Researcher at the German Development Institute), in a workshop on EU Policy Coherence for Development: The Challenge of Sustainability, organized by the European Parliament’s Committee on Development and hosted by MEP Cristian Dan Preda, standing rapporteur on Policy Coherence for Development. The two invited experts contributed to the workshop by delivering briefings and presentations.

In his briefing “The European Union and Policy Coherence for Development: high on mechanisms, low on achievements”, Prof. Carbone analyses the evolution of the concept of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) in the European Union (EU). The central argument is that, despite its institutionalization since the Treaty of Maastricht and the numerous commitments made by EU Member States and institutions in various contexts, achievements on PCD have been modest. The strong emphasis placed on mechanisms and procedures has not helped as much as it was expected. An analysis of the Impact Assessment procedure, the contentious role to be played by EU Delegations, and the difficult implementation record of the ambitious initiative on joint programming show that the needs and interests of (different types of) developing countries are only marginally taken into account across a number of EU policies and decisions. The conclusion is that the successful promotion of PCD is not so much a matter of mechanisms and procedures but primarily is a political undertaking. Nevertheless, the author provides some recommendations, which could make PCD an important element of transformative development.


In the briefing titled “Policy Coherence for Development and the Security Development Nexus in EU External Relations”, Mark Furness argues that what is needed is a more ambitious conceptualisation of PCD which considers the interaction of all policies relevant in a given context, with a view to the achievement of overriding development objectives. This implies that policy coherence is best served when actors responsible for policymaking in various domains engage in a process of designing and implementing comprehensive policy frameworks with strategic objectives in mind, and that both the objectives themselves and the policymaking and implementation processes by which they are pursued support rather than undermine each other.This paper shows that while progress has been made by the EU towards this kind of approach, particularly since the Lisbon Treaty, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Two areas are highlighted: the EU’s comprehensive approach to country-level engagements in fragile and conflict-affected countries, and the question of securitisation and the EU’s new emergency trust fund for migration in Africa. The briefing also gives recommendations at the conceptual, strategic and country levels as well as with regard to crisis response.

The full report of the workshop including the experts’ briefings is available here.