Making policies work

Talking Points blog overview

About the Talking Points blog


The Talking Points blog, produced by our people and partners, aims to deepen the dialogue on policy issues, and get to the heart of the matter in an honest and concise way. ...

The European Parliament has its say on the EU’s international cultural relations

  • Greta Galeazzi

In a moment of existential crisis for the European Union, culture might seem irrelevant. Yet, for a meaningful refounding of the European project, culture and values need to be at the heart ...

Egypt under the spotlight: Can it be a safe third country?

Blog 3

  • Anna Knoll
  • Tasnim Abderrahim

While the EU-Turkey deal, together with the closure of the Balkan route, succeeded in significantly cutting the number of refugees crossing the Balkans, the more perilous Central Mediterranean route is back in ...

Will the new Communication on resilience help to make EU external action more effective?

  • Volker Hauck

The European Union is preparing a new Communication on resilience. This concept has played an important role in the EU’s approach to the development-humanitarian nexus but has evolved over the past years. ...

EU-Tunisia cooperation on migration: conflicting agendas?

Blog 2

  • Anna Knoll
  • Tasnim Abderrahim

Our previous blog outlined the EU’s vision of migration management together with partners in North Africa, with the aim to stem and ultimately reduce the flow of irregular migrants through the Mediterranean. ...

The EU's migration cooperation with North Africa: will the carrot and stick approach work?

  • Anna Knoll
  • Tasnim Abderrahim

      On 2 March, the European Union published the third progress report on actions carried out under the Migration Partnership Framework to manage flows along the Central Mediterranean route. In ...

The European External Investment Plan and sustainable development - don't reinvent the wheel, just realign it

  • Bruce Byiers
  • Karim Karaki
  • Sebastian Große-Puppendahl

Addressing Africa’s infrastructure gap has become a key priority for development practitioners and policy-makers, and a ‘sine qua non’ condition for sustainable development on the continent. Reliable and efficient energy and transport ...

Is the Nile Basin Initiative a ‘regional sailboat’ in choppy geopolitical waters?

  • Bruce Byiers

With development practitioners increasingly invoking the importance of “Thinking and Working Politically” in development processes, Rachel Klein has a very appropriate line: “Plan for sailboats, not trains”. In other words: forget linear ...

Do values still matter in the Europe-Africa partnership?

  • Geert Laporte

“The democracy, rule of law and human rights agenda is under pressure but it is more relevant than ever in the Europe-Africa dialogue”. This was the key conclusion of a seminar organised ...

Youth: a shared priority for Europe and Africa

  • Greta Galeazzi

  Sixty years ago, the Treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community, paving the way for the abolition of custom duties and the creation of a single market for goods, workers, ...

Revisiting EU assistance in crisis situations: what place for humanitarian aid?

  • Matthias Deneckere

Conflicts and protracted crises in the EU neighbourhood, alongside the resulting migration and refugee flows, have put serious pressure on the EU’s external action financing instruments. In our Challenges Paper 2017, we ...

What is the new European Consensus on Development for?

  • James Mackie

The EU institutions are now discussing a new European Consensus on Development to replace the one they agreed in 2005. However, it would seem that there is one issue they need to ...

Did the 28th African Union summit meet its hype and hope?

  • Luckystar Miyandazi
  • Philomena Apiko

In our annual Challenges paper, ECDPM authors stated that “strong and visible leadership within the AU Commission is an asset for shaping continental agendas”. In this blog, Philomena Apiko, Luckystar Miyandazi and ...

Tunisia’s new law: another step towards local democracy

  • Tasnim Abderrahim

This week, Tunisia’s national assembly has passed the long-awaited law on elections and referenda, a step that has elicited mixed reactions. The new law, which completes and amends the basic law on ...

Taking steps ahead: Towards a new vision for migration in 2017

  • Anna Knoll

The issue of migration will continue to be pivotal in 2017. ECDPM’s Anna Knoll explains why the European Union should adopt a long-term thinking towards the issue of migration and wishes 2017 ...

Eight notable moments for Europe and Africa: Looking back at 2016 and ahead to 2017

  • Franz Ferdinand Rothe
  • Nina Thijssen
  • Valeria Pintus

As we’ve entered a new year, we look back at some notable moments from 2016 – a turbulent time for international cooperation and global development. What were some of the highlights, particularly ...

Hopes for a global approach to Tax Avoidance in 2017

  • Uzo Madu

The third and last contribution to our series of blogs ahead of the 2017 Challenges Paper is by Uzo Madu, founder of What’s in it for Africa, an online platform dedicated to EU-Africa ...

Should Europe pay to enhance military capabilities in Africa?

  • Mr. Lars-Erik Lundin

The second contribution to our series of blogs ahead of the 2017 Challenges Paper is by Mr. Lars-Erik Lundin, Distinguished Associate Fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Looking ahead ...

Donor coordination and transport in West Africa - towards people, partnership and prosperity?

  • Bruce Byiers

Trade facilitation can seem a somewhat mundane topic – it’s mostly about procedures and logistics after all. But once you grasp the importance of transport costs and bottlenecks in a region like ...

Development for Policy Coherence? How migration took over EU-Africa relations

  • Ms. Judith Sargentini

In the first of our series of blogs ahead of ECDPM’s 2017 Challenges Paper, MEP Judith Sargentini shares her perspectives on the challenges of migration in 2017 and beyond. Traditionally, the US ...

Stronger together: Amplifying partnerships to finance the SDGs in Africa

  • Luckystar Miyandazi

  This week, the government of Kenya is hosting the Second High-Level Meeting (HLM2) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC), which takes place in Nairobi from 28 November to ...

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater: Why Policy Coherence for Development still has a role to play

  • Martin Ronceray

If you work in development, in environment or anywhere near the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda, you probably came across the acronyms PCD and/or PCSD at some point. For most practitioners, they stand ...

Stuck in the middle: Agriculture and climate change at COP22

  • Francesco Rampa

Keeping up the momentum for the global climate movement despite the American elections is a good result in itself. However, despite the good mood, many side events and new important initiatives launched ...

I say yes, you say no: Interpreting international cooperation

  • Damien Helly

With this blog, I would like to remind readers of the importance of language and interpreting within international cooperation, and what it means for a European integrated external action agenda, in line ...

Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris agreement: One year on

Why a joined-up approach to achieve environment and development goals is crucial

  • Annabelle Laferrère (Alumna)

The year 2015 saw the adoption of two universal agendas for sustainable development: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. The climate agreement entered into force two weeks ago ...

Jemna: The challenge of local empowerment in the Tunisian hinterland

  • Tasnim Abderrahim

  While the new Tunisian constitution emphasises the role of local authorities in boosting regional development, translating constitutional provisions into concrete laws has proven to be challenging. The process is being delayed ...

COP22: Spotlight on agriculture, Africa and action

  • Hanne Knaepen

On Monday, the UN climate change conference COP22 kicked off in Marrakech. Last year’s COP21, held in Paris, was lauded as a historic success, resulting in all nations, including the largest polluters ...

Managing European talent in EU external action: Hasn’t Brexit already served as a wake-up call?

  • Damien Helly

In the third of a series of three blog posts (see the first blog and the second blog) ahead of the publication of the implementation plan of the EU’s Global Strategy on ...

There is more to the African Union than meets the eye

  • Luckystar Miyandazi

Members of the African Union (AU) have a long history of decolonisation and liberation struggles. For many Africans and global actors, there is still some misperception surrounding the role and value the ...

EU Global Strategy blog series: Towards a European external human resources management system

  • Damien Helly

In the second of a series of three blog posts (see the first blog) ahead of the publication of the implementation plan of the EU’s Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, ...

Who will implement the EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy?

  • Damien Helly

In the first of a series of three blog posts ahead of the publication of the implementation plan of the EU’s Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy, ECDPM’s Damien Helly argues ...

Sharing is caring? Making public-private partnerships more sustainable

  • Sebastian Große-Puppendahl

There is growing recognition that global challenges are interconnected and complex, requiring multi-stakeholder alliances between all sectors of society. Increasing pressure on public budgets for development cooperation calls for using scarce public ...

Empowering women in Africa: The only way to achieve food security

  • Carmen Torres
  • Hanne Knaepen

Girls and young women represent a crucial invisible labour force in the developing world, as Carmen Torres explains in her recent article for the Girls Rights Gazette. They play a key role ...

Is the African Union’s financial independence a possibility?

  • Luckystar Miyandazi

As a continental organisation, the African Union (AU) is in a constant struggle to cope with the multifaceted social, economic and political problems that have become particularly worrisome over the last two ...

European Development Days 2016: Focus on implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

  • Melissa Julian (Alumna)

Last month, over 6,000 international development experts, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, attended the European Development Days (EDDs), Europe’s leading forum on development and international cooperation. Their discussions focussed on ...

A glass half full: East African dairy farmers see potential in regional cooperation

  • Fabien Tondel
  • Paulina Bizzotto Molina

Lucy Njiru runs a small dairy farm in Kirinyaga County, in central Kenya’s highlands, where coffee and milk are among the main agricultural products. With two cows and one bull, she produces ...

Brexit: First post-referendum thoughts

  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Geert Laporte
  • San Bilal

In what has been regarded as one of the most significant events in European history in the last 40 years, the UK has voted in referendum to leave the EU. This result ...

Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture: A renewed research and dialogue agenda is needed

  • Francesco Rampa

One of the most pressing global challenges is making our food systems more sustainable. As part of that, there is no other option than making agriculture “climate-smart”. This requires combining sustainable increases ...

Development diplomacy in the #EUGlobalStrategy: No slip of the tongue

  • Damien Helly

Unless heads of State decide otherwise, the EU will have a new Global Strategy for foreign and security policy by the end of June. One of the building blocks of the EU ...

CAADP's future? Focus on informal private sector and politics!

  • Francesco Rampa

Two weeks ago, in Accra, I attended the CAADP Partnership Platform, the annual event where all stakeholders get together to discuss progress with CAADP implementation. Unfortunately, like in my assessment last year, ...

Intercultural integration and communication: An agenda for Europe

  • Damien Helly

As the EU is about to adopt a strategy on culture in external relations and a Global strategy on foreign and security policy, we argue that both documents would be stronger with ...

Four ideas to give Africa its place in the EU Global Strategy

  • Annabelle Laferrère (Alumna)
  • Damien Helly

In less than three months, Europe will release its first-ever Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy (EUGS). The EUGS aims at creating “a stronger and more effective EU foreign policy,” in words ...

The Arab Spring, an 'unfinished revolution' in Tunisia’s regions

  • Alfonso Medinilla
  • Sahra El Fassi (Alumna)

Imagine a country divided into 24 regions, each with very different capabilities and prospects to succeed. How would you treat them in a fair and equitable way? This is the challenge that ...

Partnerships for institutional development - Think big, start small

  • Karim Karaki

Though the role of institutions in fostering economic transformation and development is widely acknowledged, an increasing focus has been on the politics behind institutional change. In Dani Rodrik’s words, “issues of governance, politics, ...

Le mot juste : pour une terminologie positive dans le développement

  • Danièle Kintz

Les terminologies négatives ont une présence importante, apparemment grandissante, dans les discours concernant les individus,  les sociétés humaines en général et le développement économique, social et culturel. Des expressions telles que « ...

Using the right word: The case for positive wording in development

  • Danièle Kintz

A negative wording seems to be increasingly used in narratives on individuals and human societies as well as economic, social and cultural development. Words such as undocumented, jobless, homeless, illiterate, informal sector ...

A balancing act: EU's development and commercial goals in North Africa

  • Sebastian Große-Puppendahl

Everybody is talking about it, from the European Commission and its EU member states to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development: business needs to be better engaged in development. At the same ...

Thinking beyond the resource boom: African countries must avoid procrastination

  • Isabelle Ramdoo (Alumna)

The resource sector has entered into a new phase. Prolonged downswings in commodity prices, fuelled by (i) the double effect of slower demand from emerging markets like China and excess supply resulting ...

Les Européens, l’UE : une longue adolescence stratégique

  • Damien Helly

Dans notre série de blogs sur les grands défis à venir en 2016, Damien Helly passe en revue les obstacles à une renaissance stratégique de l’action mondiale de l’Europe. Aux prises avec ...

Dealing with protracted crises: No time for short-term thinking

Challenges series 2016

  • Matthias Deneckere

Conflict and security will continue to dominate the EU’s foreign policy agenda in 2016. The continued flow of refugees seeking asylum in Europe is a sharp reminder of how the devastating impact ...