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

Gérard Bossuat
Gordon D. Cummings

Enlargements and New Aid Paradigms (1975-1995)

The Role of France and the French in European Development Cooperation Policy1

Dieter Frisch

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From the start, we must avoid a possible misunderstanding: we must not confuse France’s role with that of the French nationals who are European commissioners and officials. While it is normal for a Member State’s representatives – ministers, ambassadors, experts in a Council of Ministers’ task force or on the EDF committee – primarily to defend national interests (albeit without losing sight of the common interest), European commissioners and officials are required by the Treaty and by their status as European “civil servants”, to perform their duties purely with the interests of the European Union in mind. Of course, they can usefully apply their national experience and awareness, but they must use them solely in the service of Europe.

In my presentation I shall therefore distinguish between the two types of role, starting with the role performed by France.

I. The Role of France

The organisers of this symposium were right to distinguish between two quite separate aid perio...


With degrees in economics from Bonn University and in modern languages from Heidelberg University, Dieter Frisch served at the European Commission from 1958 to 1993, during which time he spent 24 years in various jobs relating to development cooperation policy. Director General of development from 1982 to 1993, he negotiated the Lomé III and IV Conventions. He is the author of numerous articles and in particular of a pamphlet on La politique de développement de l’Union européenne : un regard personnel sur 50 ans de coopération internationale, ECDPM, 2008. He is on the board of governors of the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM, Maastricht) and chairs the planning committee. Dieter Frisch is also a co-founder of Transparency International and is a member of its advisory board and special adviser on European affairs.

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

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