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The proposed new European Consensus on Development: has the European Commission got it right?

Briefing/policy paper

Written by Raphaëlle Faure

Briefing/policy paper

In November 2016, the European Commission proposed a new European Consensus on Development (COM, 2016a), governing all the international development work of the European Union (EU) and the Member States. This policy brief provides a summary and an analysis of the EU’s proposal and sets out a series of options for EU Member States and Members of the European Parliament as they begin negotiations on the text.

This policy brief argues that the proposal works as a primer on contemporary development problems, consistent with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. However, it does not work as a strategy in the true meaning of the term.


  • If Member States and the European Parliament wish this document to be a strategy, then there are three priority areas where more detail is needed:

    • comparative advantage and the respective roles of the Commission and Member States

    • thematic, sectoral and geographical priorities, with analysis of what this means for lower priority topics

    • policy coherence, including implications for the architecture of European Union instruments.

  • The European Union should prioritise action on fragile states and global public goods, including climate change.

Raphaelle Faure and Simon Maxwell