Is the EU’s Governance ‘Good’? An Assessment of EU Governance in its Partnership with ACP States

Publication Date: 
01 January 2010
Taylor & Francis
Publication Place: 
Publication Language: 
Appearing in: 
Third World Quarterly

Distinguishing between ‘(good) governance’ as a process and an outcome, this article examines both the processes and outcomes of governance in the context of the EU's relationship with ACP states since the adoption of the Cotonou Agreement. The article discusses and assesses a variety of governance mechanisms, including the European Commission's use of the governance concept, Economic Partnership Agreements, manifestations of partner preferences, the European Development Fund, the revision of the Cotonou Agreement, and Fisheries Partnership Agreements. Specific examples of the wielding of each mechanism are assessed based upon two criteria: the extent to which the wielding of the mechanism by the EU is a manifestation of ‘good governance’, and the extent to which the mechanisms have resulted, or are likely to result, in the sustainable development of and reduction of poverty in ACP countries. The examples are chosen to illustrate contradictions between rhetoric and practice and the consequential negative (actual and potential) impact upon development in ACP states. The article ends with some suggestions for improving the EU's governance processes and their outcomes for development.