This paper profiles donors that have joined the EU since 2004 as part of a work programme on the role of so-called ‘new’ actors in international development.  The new EU donors present a special challenge for the future of European development cooperation in that they add pressure on the EU system to formulate a global development agenda that mobilises support from a broad constituency within Europe and defines how national competences can be combined with strengthened multilateral action. This challenge also provides an opportunity for the EU to build a more solid foundation for development cooperation in the future.

Although the discussion of new donors in the changing global development landscape usually focuses on the development cooperation forays of emerging economies, the budding aid programmes of the dozen member states that have joined the EU since 2004 are also illustrative of challenges from the larger non-DAC donor community.  They provide an instance of the diversification of sources of development finance and an example of shifting roles within the global economy, making a transition from being aid recipients to aid providers in a relatively short period of time. While challenges of donor coordination and learning how to cope with alternative perspectives on the guiding logic and preferred manner of implementing development cooperation are not unique to the arrival of new EU member states on the donor scene, the new EU member states pose a distinct and direct challenge for the future of European development cooperation, as these donors can shape the direction that EU development policy takes from within the EU system itself. Read the full publication