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 

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”.

Abstract. 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. 

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


1. Fischer-Tiné H., Mann M., eds. Colonialism as Civilizing Mission. Cultural Ideology in British India. London, Anthem, 2004. 361 p.

2. Baranovsky V.G. Evropeiskoe soobshchestvo v sisteme mezhdunarodnykh otnoshenii [European Community in the International Relations System]. Moscow, Nauka, 1986. 319 p.

3. Lehne S. Is There Hope for EU Foreign Policy? Carnegie Europe, 05.12.2017. Available at: (accessed 10.12.2017).

4. Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe. A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy. June 2016. Available at: (accessed 15.12.2017).

5. Arbatova N.K., Kokeev A.M., eds. Global’naya strategiya bezopasnosti ES 2016. Analiticheskii doklad [EU’s Global Security Strategy of 2016. Analytical Report]. Moscow, IMEMO, 2016. 33 p.

6. European External Action Service. HQ Organizational Chart as of 1 December 2017. Available at: (accessed 15.12.2017).

7. Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development. Available at: (accessed 15.12.2017).

8. European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations. Available at: (accessed 15.12.2017).

9. European Development Fund (EDF). Available at: (accessed 15.12.2017).

10. EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. Available at: (accessed 19.12.2017).

11. EU Neighbours. Available at: (accessed 19.12.2017).

12. Instrument ontributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP). Available at: (accessed 19/12/2017).

13. DAC Members’ Net ODA in 2016. Available at: (accessed 16.12.2017).

14. European Commission. EU Aid Explorer. Available at: (accessed 18.12.2017).

15. Strategic Plan 2016–2020. DG International Cooperation and Development – DG DEVCO. Available at: (accessed 18.12.2017).

16. EU Official Development Assistance reaches highest level ever. European Commission. Press Release IP/17/916. 11.04.2017. Available at: (accessed 13.11.2017).

17. Juncker J.-C. A New Start for Europe. Opening Statement in the European Parliament Session. Strasbourg, 15.07.2014. Available at: (accessed 12.11.2017).

18. Meet the Neighbours. The Economist, 23.06.2005. Available at: (accessed 12.11.2017).

19. Delegation of the EU to Ukraine. EU Projects in Ukraine. Overview. Available at: (accessed 13.11.17).

20. OECD-DAC. Aid at a glance charts. Available at: (accessed 13.11.17).

21. European Commission. European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. Ukraine. Available at: (accessed 13.11.17).

22. Mission of Ukraine to the EU. EU’s Assistance to Ukraine. Available at: (accessed 11.12.2017).

23. European Court of Auditors. EU Assistance to Ukraine. Special Report 32, 2016. Available at: (accessed 15.10.2017).

24. Emmott R. Ukraine’s EU Membership remains elusive. Reuters, 24.11.2017. Available at: (accessed 26.11.2017).

25. The EU and Central Asia: Strategy for a New Partnership. Council of the EU 10113/07, 31.05.2007. Available at: (accessed 12.10.2017).

26. Council Conclusions on the EU Strategy for Central Asia. Council of the EU 10387/17, 19.06.2017. Available at: (accessed 12.10.2017).

27. Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA). European Commission. Available at: (accessed 12.11.2017).

28. 2016 Operational Report on Investment Facility for Central Asia, Asia Investment Facility, Investment Facility for the Pacific. Available at: (accessed 12.10.2017).

29. Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States,of the one part, and the Republic of Kazakhstan, of the other part. Official Journal of the EU, L29/3, vol. 59, 04.02.2016. Available at: (accessed 13.12.2017).

30. Gotev G. MEPs Overwhelmingly Ratify EU-Kazakhstan Landmark Partnership Agreement. EURACTIV, 12.12.2017. Available at: (accessed 13.12.2017).

31. Kazakhstan. International Cooperation and Development. European Commission. Available at: (accessed 13.12.2017).

32. Kyrgyz Republic: EU to launch negotiations on new agreement. Council of the EU. Press Release. 09.10.2017. Available at: (accessed 13.12.2017).

33. Kyrgyzstan. International Cooperation and Development. European Commission. Available at: (accessed 13.12.2017).

34. EU-Tajikistan Relations. European External Action Service. Available at: (accessed 15.12.2017).

35. Uzbekistan. International Cooperation and Development. European Commission. Available at: (accessed 13.12.2017).

36. Turkmenistan. International Cooperation and Development. European Commission. Available at: (accessed 13.12.2017).

37. EU Development Assistance to Central Asia. European Court of Auditors. Special Report no. 13, 2003. Available at: (accessed 13.12.2017). 

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Utkin S. Development Assistance in Post-Soviet Space as European Unions Policy Instrument. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 8, pp. 44-53.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 2

Topical Themes of the Issue:

  • Fiscal Policy of Advanced Economies: Playing by the Rules?  
  • Iranian Development Model: State and Society Concept, Crises and Problems
  • Afghan-Pakistan Relations: Problems and Challenges in XXI Century
  • Climate Issues under Changing Geopolitical Conditions
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.