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European Union members are collectively the largest aid donor in the world and give over half of global aid, and the EU’s policies have a major bearing on global development—from migration, to trade, agriculture and security. CGD is bringing its innovative thinking and evidence-based, practical propositions to the unique European context.
Mikaela Gavas submitted written evidence to the United Kingdom's House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee on January 31, 2019. In her evidence Gavas answered questions about the future of UK-EU development cooperation after Brexit.
There is much uncertainty now about how the UK will respond to Thursday’s referendum result calling for Britain to leave the European Union. The effects on developing countries—and development cooperation—will depend in part on what is agreed in the coming months and years. But here is some speculation about the possible threats that Brexit implies, and a (rather shorter) list of the possible opportunities.
The European Union is a unique and inspiring association. We are alarmed that a narrow majority of the British people might choose to destroy that by voting to leave the European Union, undermining our ability to secure our foreign, economic, and international development interests. This would be harmful for Britain and for the rest of the world.
Europe has been caught off guard by recent asylum-seeker arrivals, prompting what some have called a threat to the survival of the EU. However, we have shown that Europe has admitted and integrated much larger numbers of refugees in the past. So why have countries been so overwhelmed this time around? One major hurdle has been assessing the validity of such large numbers of asylum claims.
On February 23, CGD President Nancy Birdsall will deliver the first Kapuscinski Development Lecture of 2016 in Berlin, Germany. Her lecture, “The New Middle Class in the Developing World: Does It Matter?” will take a hard look at what it means to be middle class in developing countries and explore the role of strugglers, the rapidly expanding group of people caught between extreme poverty and the middle class.
One needs just to look at the newspaper headlines to see that the problem of migrants is growing daily in Europe and that its gravity is greater than before. The number of migrants this year has already exceeded 100,000 (about 15 percent higher than the last, record, year); the number of the dead has reached at least several thousand although the statistics are murky since no one has incentive to compile them. People just die in desert or sea and no one cares. Practically every European country thinks about either deporting the migrants, making the asylum laws more difficult, or simply shutting the borders.
In the short run, the uncertainty about future national policy may discourage private investment in renewable energy and other low carbon technologies. At the same time, the freedom to forge its own climate policy and to step out ahead of the EU may open opportunities for more ambitious action and creative intellectual leadership in UK support to developing countries.
Germans have given Chancellor Angela Merkel a fourth term as chancellor, but once again without a parliamentary majority. It seems likely that Merkel will now try to negotiate a black-green-yellow “Jamaica coalition” (referring to the parties’ colors) with the Greens and the pro-business Liberals replacing the Social Democrats as coalition partners. Despite the gain in vote for nationalists, our analysis suggests the Jamaica coalition could actually strengthen Germany’s role in accelerating global development, as well as benefitting Germany.