At theoretical and conceptual level, this research aims to contribute academically to the study of emergent donors in international development in three directions:

(a). Reassessing the concept of emergent donor.

The labels of “emergent donor” and “new donor” are problematic, especially when it comes to mapping the potential cases, because they usually take into account only the post Millennium Summit and sometimes the post Cold War changes. Romania, for instance, had some donor experience during communism but currently it is internationally treated as a new donor. Such situations may be explained by the fact that the vocabulary of international development is still dominated by concepts and theories that emerged from a colonial discourse. Using thirteen European cases, the project challenges existent orthodoxies and, through an analysis of the existing definition and cases, aims to propose an integrative approach to the concept of “emerging donor” that could be employed in contexts beyond the EU area.

(b). Identifying the features of EU emerging donors.

The characteristics of the emergent donors are a research area still in its infancy, with most literature focusing on case-studies and on institutional analysis. The project will address both the institutional and discursive dimensions aiming to identify to what extent the new EU donors establish autonomous and consistent ODA agendas and discourses on international development. More specifically, at national level, it examines the types of national framework for conducting ODA activities, the types of preferred ODA activities and the types of institutional and discursive relations that the governments develop with the rest of the national stakeholders for international development activities. At international level, it will investigate the way in which the governments of the new donors relate institutionally and discursively to EU and UN, which are traditional channels for disbursement of ODA activities.

(c). Assessing the impact of EU emerging donors.

The question of the impact is virtually untouched, partly due to the short period of donor experience of the countries under scrutiny. Some hypotheses have been advanced recently and the project will briefly explore this issue, starting from the little existing scholarship, as well as from a growing policy-making literature on the topic. Given the current data availability, in this respect it only aims to identify 

(i) the institutional contexts in which the new EU donors’ activities have been highly positive, highly negative or negligible, respectively; 

(ii) whether at discursive level the ODA activities in the field are correlated to EU or presented as autonomous.