EU External Action and Development Spending in a Time of Covid-19


Author: Sanja Badanjak

Key findings:

  • The EU’s response to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic improved over the course of 2020, following an initial impression of chaos and ineffectiveness.
  • In the spring of 2020, the EU’s approach dramatically changed with the introduction of “Team Europe”, a package of funding and a joint approach to external engagement.
  • The “Team Europe” response pushed the EU’s net Official Development Assistance (ODA) to a historic high in 2020, doubling direct budget support from the previous year. While this supports agency for recipient countries, it is not clear whether this increased level of budget support will be maintained in the future.
  • Analysis of Twitter activity shows a focus on substantive pandemic-related issues, but there is little use of social media as a tool for policy, i.e.; for interaction between the “EU bubble” and external audiences that the EU may wish to reach.

This report is part of a body of work and a set of connected research projects on Covid-19, peace, and conflict. Browse all Covid-19 key findings and resources