2021 Organisation and Management of Aid

Like-Minded in Principle or in Practice? Priorities and Allocations in EU Member States’ Foreign Aid

Olof Karlsson, Jonas Tallberg

Together, the EU and its 27 member states constitute by far largest provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in the world. Several member countries have been important donor countries for a long time, while others are emerging. Understanding the development policy of its member states, as well as that of the EU at large, is thus an important step in identifying potential future partnerships for Sweden in international development.

In this working paper the authors, Olof Karlsson and Jonas Tallberg, present a mapping of the development policies of the EU and all its member states. The “development policy profiles” are complemented with data on allocation of ODA, and patterns and alignment of development policies and allocation are discussed. As a final exercise, they relate member states’ profiles to Sweden to identify “like-minded” states in development cooperation.

Main findings

  • In mapping and comparing the EU27, a distinction is made between the EU’s “small” and “large” donors based on respective ODA/GNI ratios, whereby the top ten are considered “large.”
  • Countries exhibiting the most pronounced similarities with Sweden are found almost exclusively among the latter, and include the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Ireland, Belgium, as well as Italy just outside of the top ten.
  • The aforementioned member states can be said to be like-minded since they share, inter alia, high levels of ODA, a strong focus on Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as well as a high level of financial commitment to both gender and climate/environment goals.

The report includes a digital appendix with “development policy profiles” for all EU member states.

Authors
Olof Karlsson, MA in Political Science, Stockholm University
Jonas Tallberg, Professor of Political Science, Stockholm University