The Quest for Coherence between EU Policies: An Unattainable Goal?
This chapter will deal with the question of coherence or consistency between European Union policies, starting from the premise that coherence means that different policies should logically complement each other; additionally, that a reduction in contradictions between various EU policies is a precondition for establishing coherence. Development cooperation policy is inextricably interrelated with other Community policies. Accordingly, given that there is a perceived lack of coherence in EU policy, the aim is to identify the other main policies that impair the attainment of development cooperation objectives.
The Maastricht Treaty marked a watershed in the evolving importance of coherence in EU policy. A single legal basis for development cooperation was framed and, more importantly in the context of coherence, Article 178 (ex-130v) requires that development objectives be considered in the implementation of other policies. It should, however, be stressed that Article 178 refers exclusively to Community policies and does not explicitly mention the term ‘coherence’ in any of the legal provisions relating to development cooperation. Policies that fall under the remit of the European Union such as the Common Foreign and Security Policy are covered by another treaty provision that is discussed in more detail below.
Before assessing the main policy areas that have historically formed an obstacle to the maintenance of consistency between development cooperation policy and other EU policies, it is imperative to look in more detail at the peculiar institutional constraints that impinge on the establishment of coherence. We shall then proceed to examine the