The EU and most aid donors invoke a strong normative power face by explicitly connecting foreign aid with human and social development. However, how well the EU’s rhetoric is consistent with its practices as a multilateral development actor has not been explored extensively. In this study, we challenge the normative dimension of the EU’s development policy and explore whether the EU’s Official Development Assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa is based on objective deprivation on the part of recipient countries or whether it is “interest driven”. We use a least squares dummy variable model regression to examine aid flows from the EU to all 48 Sub-Saharan African states for the period 2000 to 2010. The evidence found indicates that in certain instances, aid allocation contradicts the normative rhetoric that the EU uses to describe its development policy, as the donor’s own interests in the region seem to supersede priority given to the needs of the aid recipient states. A limitation to the findings is the fact that normative values and strategic interests are not mutually exclusive. Nevertheless, the present study suggests that the EU’s portrayal as a force for good in international relations requires cautious critique.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited