Analysis of Development Co-operation
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Treaty of Amsterdam - TEC TEU
Treaty of Maastricht - TEU

Article 212

1. Without prejudice to the other provisions of the Treaties, and in particular Articles 208 to 211, the Union shall carry out economic, financial and technical cooperation measures, including assistance, in particular financial assistance, with third countries other than developing countries. Such measures shall be consistent with the development policy of the Union and shall be carried out within the framework of the principles and objectives of its external action. The Union's operations and those of the Member States shall complement and reinforce each other.

2. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall adopt the measures necessary for the implementation of paragraph 1.

3. Within their respective spheres of competence, the Union and the Member States shall cooperate with third countries and the competent international organisations. The arrangements for Union cooperation may be the subject of agreements between the Union and the third parties concerned.

The first subparagraph shall be without prejudice to the Member States' competence to negotiate in international bodies and to conclude international agreements.


  • This article relates to economic, financial and technical cooperation with third countries. It is not about development cooperation and it is very clearly specified that this is not the appropriate channel to help developing countries: 'with countries other than developing countries.'
  • Economic, financial and technical cooperation is subject to co-decision between the Council and the European Parliament.


  • Cooperation with developing countries is clearly described in Articles 208 to 211 and Article 212 even refers to these articles by stating that economic, financial and technical cooperation should not prejudice provisions within the development articles.
  • It is, therefore, very clear that the EU offers two different frameworks for cooperation with third countries:
  1. Development cooperation (Articles 208 to 211) to all developing countries.
  2. Economic, financial and technical cooperation (Articles 212 and 213) to third countries other than developing countries
  • This should then be replicated within the institutional arrangements, finances and policies of the EU within which the framework offered to all developing countries has to be distinct in nature, objectives and resources from the one offered to other third countries.


  • Draws on Article 181a TEC