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From EU ‘policy principles’ to national ‘policy norms’? Insights into German development policy

Laura-Theresa Krüger

In the two decades ensuing US President Harry S. Truman's pivotal Point IV address, most industrialised countries started off national development policies. From the outset, these policies have been subject to intense international exchange and debate about development paradigms and instruments. Over the years, discussions fed into several internationally agreed goals (such as the MDGs) and increasingly established development ‘policy norms’ (cf. Park/Vetterlein 2010). The European Union, a long-term and important development actor, has progressively included many of the latter into its treaties and ‘soft law’ documents (cf. Forwood 2001, Stokke 2005, Holland 2008). In how far have these principles been transformed into development policy norms by the member states? How might structural and agency factors affect the internalisation of European development policy norms by national actors? The paper will subscribe to constructivist norm research and provide a three-level, five-phase norm model. It will then zoom in on the step between norm institutionalisation and internalisation, departing from the assumption that a norm is internalised once it is fully accepted and regarded as right and legitimate by relevant national actors (cf. also Elgström 2000, Park/Vetterlein 2010). With a focus on this step, my analytical framework takes into account different levels at which both agency and structural factors might come into play (individual, institutional, national and international). The analysis will then focus on the norm processes at play with regard to four specific ‘policy norms’ (0.7% of GNI as ODA, priority to LDCs, increase in budget support, EU Joint Programming) and their incorporation into German development policy.

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