Development aid is a policy that can be encompassed within neo-liberal thought. The belief that states can cooperate with one another for mutual benefit and absolute gains is firmly enshrined in neo-liberal theory. Mutual benefit and absolute gains point towards advantages to those donors who send development aid however. This creates the question of whether development aid is purely philanthropic or if neo-liberal thought means that donors should look to gain something from the sending of aid.
EuropeAid itself was set up in order to implement "EU development cooperation in all developing countries". In addition, the EU is a unique donor due to the bilateral aid and multilateral institutions that concurrently exist. Although EuropeAid states its intentions in terms of development, the exact nature of EU development aid is still debated. Furthermore, the Treaty of Maastricht states under Article C that "external activities as a whole" should be consistent, thus linking development with numerous other policies. Does this allow the EU's aid to be used for other objectives?
Ravi Sodha is a recent graduate, having completed an MA in European Studies Maastricht University. His research focuses on European Common Security and Defence Policy and European External Economic Policy.