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The politics of double-delegation in the European Union


Michaelowa, Katharina; Reinsberg, Bernhard; Schneider, Christina (2017). The politics of double-delegation in the European Union. CIS Working Paper 93, University of Zurich.

Abstract

The European Union (EU) often channels the contributions of its member countries through other international development organizations (IDOs) to implement its development programs and activities. Why do EU member countries who delegate their foreign aid to these EU institutions allow the Commission to further delegate the use of these resources to such IDOs? We argue that governments face a trade-off between visibility and effectiveness. Pooling foreign aid resources in the EU increases the visibility of the EU as a foreign policy actor. Yet, while the increase in resources makes the EU a more powerful actor in developing countries, it oftentimes does not have the capacity to use these resources effectively. Delegating aid to IDOs helps the EU to solve this capacity problem, but it also reduces the benefits regarding visibility. Double delegation also limits the control that member states can exert over EU development policies. Consequently, double delegation is more likely when the EU’s capacity as an aid donor is low and when no strategic interests of EU members are at stake. We also show that the Commission tries to mitigate the loss of control by earmarking the delegated aid projects more tightly. Our empirical analysis is based on our own coding of project-level information in the OECD’s Creditor Reporting System, document analysis, and interviews at the EU, the Word Bank, and bilateral donors. The results generally support our theoretical expectations.

Abstract

The European Union (EU) often channels the contributions of its member countries through other international development organizations (IDOs) to implement its development programs and activities. Why do EU member countries who delegate their foreign aid to these EU institutions allow the Commission to further delegate the use of these resources to such IDOs? We argue that governments face a trade-off between visibility and effectiveness. Pooling foreign aid resources in the EU increases the visibility of the EU as a foreign policy actor. Yet, while the increase in resources makes the EU a more powerful actor in developing countries, it oftentimes does not have the capacity to use these resources effectively. Delegating aid to IDOs helps the EU to solve this capacity problem, but it also reduces the benefits regarding visibility. Double delegation also limits the control that member states can exert over EU development policies. Consequently, double delegation is more likely when the EU’s capacity as an aid donor is low and when no strategic interests of EU members are at stake. We also show that the Commission tries to mitigate the loss of control by earmarking the delegated aid projects more tightly. Our empirical analysis is based on our own coding of project-level information in the OECD’s Creditor Reporting System, document analysis, and interviews at the EU, the Word Bank, and bilateral donors. The results generally support our theoretical expectations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Delegation, Aussenpolitik, Entwicklungshilfe, Entwicklungsorganisation, Europäische Union
Language:English
Date:14 April 2017
Deposited On:10 Jan 2018 11:24
Last Modified:30 Jul 2018 05:07
Series Name:CIS Working Paper
Number of Pages:31
ISSN:1662-7504
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:https://www.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/gess/cis/cis-dam/CIS_DAM_2017/WP93_final.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.cis.ethz.ch/research/working-papers.html (Organisation)
https://www.recherche-portal.ch/ZAD:default_scope:ebi01_prod010895558 (Library Catalogue)

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