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France, Europe and Development Aid. From the Treaties of Rome to the Present Day

Gérard Bossuat
Gordon D. Cummings


Gordon D. Cumming

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1This volume explores the origins and evolution of European development assistance policy, focusing particularly on the role of the European Commission and its interactions with France, Britain, and the African, Caribbean and Pacific states.

2This book is noteworthy in a number of ways. For a start, it is empirically rich, covering half a century of aid relations and drawing upon interviews, archives and first hand accounts by officials and practitioners who were instrumental in shaping the evolution of European development policy. In addition, this study sheds new light on the actions of leading European figures (such as Jacques Ferrandi, Claude Cheysson and Edgard Pisani) as well as offering fresh insights into the role of the European Commission as a norm entrepreneur shaping the aid policies of member states. Significantly too, this work is refreshingly frank in its critique of France’s early role in shaping European aid policy as well as in its assessment of the current threats to Europe’s aid partnership with the South, whether from globalisation, the World Trade Organisation or the eurozone crisis. Finally, this volume incorporates the views of an unusually wide range of actors (donors, recipients, academics, development practitioners and informed members of the public) and, in so doing, provides a rounded and holistic account of the history of European aid and trade agreements.

3While edited books are currently out of favour in liberal anglophone academic circles, this ambitious and impactful study reveals the benefits offered by such volumes. It will be of particular interest to aid practitioners, historians, scholars of international relations and specialists in development studies.


Gordon D. Cumming is a professor of political science at Cardiff University. He is an honorary member of the Royal Historical Society and teaches as a visiting fellow at the Bordeaux Institut d’Études Politiques (IEP). He began his career in the British Foreign Office. His research interests concern the foreign and development policies of France, Britain and the European Union. He also focuses on French and Anglo-American non-governmental organisations and on policies to promote the capability of civil society. He has produced reports for the Institut Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI) and for Chatham House. In addition, he has published numerous articles, chapters and books (Aid to Africa, 2001; French NGOs in the Global Era, 2009; and, with Professor Tony Chafer, From Rivalry to Partnership: New Approaches to the Challenges of Africa, 2011).

© Institut de la gestion publique et du développement économique, 2013

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