Development is at the heart of the EU’s external action, along with its foreign, security and trade policies. The primary and overarching objective of EU development policy is the eradication of poverty in the context of sustainable development, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
EU action in the field of development is based on the European Consensus on Development , signed on 20 December 2005, whereby EU Member States, the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission agreed to a common EU vision of development.
EU partnerships and dialogue with developing countries promote respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, peace, democracy, good governance, and gender equality, the rule of law, solidarity and justice. European Community's contribution is focused in certain areas of intervention, responding to the needs of partner countries.
As the world's largest donor of official development assistance, the EU has, in the last years been strongly committed to improve aid effectiveness. The adoption of an ambitious Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in 2005 was due, in no small measure, to the strong input provided by the EU.
Policy Coherence for Development plays a central role in reinforcing the EU contribution to developing countries progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The aim is to maximise the positive impact of these policies on partner countries and to correct incoherence.