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Europeanization from Below: Nordification or Like-mindization of EU Development Aid Policies?

Ole Elgström

We can see a convergence of European development aid policies. Several explanations are possible: Europeanization from above (emanating from the Commission) or from below (from Member States; MS). One frequent assertion is that the Nordic countries have been driving EU policies forward ("Nordification") by exporting "the Nordic model". Examples of such influence that are commonly referred to are gender policy, good governance and donor co-ordination. It has also been argued, however, that a wider circle of "progressive" donors has increasingly become the main driving force (the Like-Minded Countries; LMCs). In this paper, I first analyse who these "progressive" MS are (what formal and informal groupings exist?) and how the circle of LMCs has developed over time. Can we still talk about "Nordification" or should we instead discuss these Europeanization processes in terms of "like-mindization"? A second purpose is to examine how their influence is organized and exerted. How do these countries co-ordinate and form coalitions? How are informal groupings organized and in what ways and in what forums do they pursue their policy preferences? By stressing the processes and practices through which informal groupings are set-up and working, I hope to fill a gap in the literature on Europeanization and to contribute to the wider discourse on the EU's internal decision-making processes.The study will be based on existing literature, document studies and interviews. The latter are carried out with senior aid officials at MS permanent representations in Brussels.

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