Providing ethical analysis, consideration, and foundation is essential for normatively justifiable development practice. European scholars have often focused on the international realm and work in the developing nations in Asia, Africa or South America. So far there is no special focus on European development, the role of Western Europe as a major player in development donations, its responsibility for sustainable, global development and the questions that arise because of the changes in Europe during the last few decades. We think that there is a unique European perspective on human development, as well as particular European problems in this field, especially since the most recent financial crisis and the political insecurities in Europe (rise of right-wing parties, growing economic inequalities, growing unemployment in many areas). We also hope that it will provide an occasion for promoting academic discussion across national borders, thus helping us understand what it means to be European thus fostering a sense of identity that transcends national borders and thus establishes a more robust sense of global responsibility. Hence, we believe that European development should be a topic that needs to be given a more status in the world of development ethics. Within and for Europe.
In its initial stage, the network is mainly just that: a network. In many European countries, there are scholars who are interested in collaboration (with other scholars as well as practitioners) but lack the platform to do so. Also, many academics in Europe, professors and postdocs alike, either do not have the funding and/or the time to go the many international development events and network meetings. Still, they would like to have feedback on their work and debate their work with other scholars and practitioners in development. Meanwhile, the decrease in government funding has lead development organizations and NGOs to refocus their work towards fundraising with the consequence that little ethical consideration is given to the ethical aspects of their work. Given these challenges, it is of utmost importance to provide a networking platform that promotes collaboration between development ethicists themselves as well as in relation to the wider development community. Our aim is to promote the organization of conferences, workshops and webinars within Europe in order to make it facilitate the interaction of development scholars, practitioners and policy makers.