in: Journal of European Integration, first published 30.01.2024
This contribution analyses to what extent the EU’s external response to the COVID-19 pandemic, communicated under the label ‘Team Europe’, represents a critical juncture for the EU’s development policy in terms of creating conditions for institutional change. As an area of shared competence, EU development policy processes predominantly seek to strengthen cooperation between the EU and its member states whilst respecting their respective competencies. Such initiatives have lacked success due to member states’ resistance towards strengthened coordination, let alone integration. By contrast, the Team Europe approach promoted the pooling of choices and resources of EU institutions and member states and strengthened the frequency and political importance of enhanced cooperation. The article identifies the European Commission’s policy entrepreneurship, the alignment with member states’ interests, low levels of politicisation and broader contextual geopolitical changes as key explanatory factors influencing more favourable attitudes aimed at and prospects for closer cooperation as promoted by Team Europe.