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The Duty of Cooperation as an Enhancer of Vertical Coherence in EU Development Policy

Soledad Rodríguez Sánchez-Tabernero

According to Article 208 TFEU, the EU's development cooperation policy must reinforce and complement those of the Member States and vice versa. This configuration as a "parallel" competence implies the inapplicability of the principle of pre-emption. This absence of de facto exclusivity as a delimitation element in the second level of coherence implies that coherence will have to be further reinforced in the vertical dimension through its third level: synergetic interactions. One of the key principles of that third level is the duty of cooperation. Parallelism of competences appears to refer to a theoretical impossibility of discordance among EU and Member State action, while that is clearly not the case. Despite pre-emption being excluded, the duty of loyalty still applies to the field of development cooperation, as made explicit via the procedural obligations of coordination and consultation in Article 210(1) TFEU and materialising initiatives such as Joint Programming. This paper aims to assess the applicability and scope of the duty of cooperation in the field of development policy as an element of coherence. For this purpose, it will firstly outline possible clashes between EU and Member State development policy. Secondly, it will briefly look at the implications of the inapplicability of pre-emption. Thirdly, an examination of the implementation of the duty of cooperation in the field of development policy will be presented.

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