The Border Management Programme in Central Asia: Explaining the European Union's Choice of Implementing Partners

Item Reference: 
BRIGG 2014/3
Publication Date: 
Publication Place: 
Publication Language: 
College of Europe, UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
Series Title: 
BRIGG Working paper
Working Paper Type: 

Between 2003 and 2014 the European Union’s (EU) Border Management Programme in Central Asia was implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). However, the latter’s implementing responsibilities have just come to an end, with the next phase of the programme to be implemented by an EU member state consortium. This paper seeks to explain why the EU chose the UNDP to implement the programme in the first place; why the programme was redelegated to the UNDP over successive phases; and why, in the end, the EU has opted for a member state consortium to implement the next phase of the programme. The paper will draw on two alternative accounts of delegation: the principal-agent approach and normative institutionalism. Ultimately, it will be argued that both the EU’s decision(s) to delegate (and redelegate) implementing responsibilities to the UNDP, and its subsequent decision to drop the organisation in favour of an EU member state consortium, were driven for the most part by a rationalist ‘logic of consequentiality’. At the same time, a potential secondary role of a normative institutionalist ‘logic of appropriateness’ – as a supplementary approach – will not be discounted.