The EU's Development Aid in Times of Austerity: a Constructivist Approach

Teresa Almeida Cravo

This paper problematises the impact of domestic constraints on the EU's identity and performance as a key development aid actor. It argues that what has been, for most of the post-Second World War era, a European identity that has long overlapped with that of a major donor is increasingly showing signs of change. In a time of economic crisis and austerity, we are witnessing a marked transformation in the ability of European political elites to assume domestic support for now longstanding development aid policies. Slogans such as "value for money" have replaced more traditional appeals to a duty of assistance. The paper suggests that this may go beyond a simple reaction to immediate financial constraints, and become a more significant reconfiguration of European identity and ultimately self-perception of its role in the world.

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