Development Assistance in Post-Soviet Space as European Unions Policy Instrument

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-8-44-53

S. Utkin (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation 


The article presents analysis of the development assistance machinery used by the European Union, and its application to the post-Soviet space. The EU makes its “Global Strategy” the basis for application of various foreign policy tools, including the tool of foreign aid. Much of the EU effort in the field is based on two pillars – the Sustainable Development Goals, as formulated in the United Nations, and the EU’s key value priorities – support for democracy and human rights. While the European External Action Service does add up to the EU’s foreign policy coherence, the development aid and humanitarian assistance are run by separate EU agencies, which allows to take into account the specificity of this policy field. When the European Union institutions and member states are treated as a unified official development aid provider, it makes sense, since the member states share the key priorities in the field and make use of coordination in the EU. Ukraine is much more than a foreign aid recipient for the European Union. As a result of the political crisis that creates troubles for the country since 2014, the EU does feel the necessity to provide diverse support to Ukraine, though it stops short of agreeing to Ukraine’s candidacy for membership in the Union. In this context foreign aid becomes one of the tools that help to resolve some of Ukraine’s acute problems. Central Asia is much less of a priority for the European Union, although the opportunities which can open for the EU’s presence through foreign aid are carefully explored. The approach to Central Asian countries varies greatly. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as the most vulnerable remain the recipients of conventional sorts of assistance, while Kazakhstan is ready for a much more equal partnership, thus, showing the way to others. While the EU’s approach to the post-Soviet space will be ever more differentiated, depending on the partners’ development and readiness to build advanced relations, foreign aid will remain among the EU’s notable foreign policy instruments, albeit far from being the only one. 

Acknowledgements.The article has been supported by a grant of the Russian Science Foundation. Project no. 15-07-00061a “Promoting international development as an instrument of foreign policy: the experience of foreign countries”.


international development assistance, development aid, European Union, post-Soviet space, foreign policy 


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For citation:
Utkin S. Development Assistance in Post-Soviet Space as European Unions Policy Instrument. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2018, vol. 62, No 8, pp. 44-53.

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