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Ignoring the Elephant in the Room? Assessing the Impact of the European Union on the Development Assistance Committee's Role in International Development

Joren Verschaeve

This article studies the impact of the European Union (EU) on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). While literature thus far focused on the external challenges for the DAC's role in international development, most notably its lack of inclusiveness, we argue that the EU should be taken into account as well. By focusing on two topical issues, i.e. the cases of (i) policy coherence for development and (ii) the concessionality of Official Development Assistance loans, we argue that the EU poses a structural challenge for the DAC's role. More specifically, our empirical findings (expert interviews, document analysis and participant observation) shows that the strong overlap in membership between both institutions and the Union's changing nature as a development actor. While on the one hand this deteriorates the DAC's legitimacy among both EU and non-EU members of the Committee, it also hampers the DAC's effective decision-making.

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