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The EU is committed to eradicating poverty and building a fairer and more stable world. Through its policies the EU promotes good governance for human and economic development in partner countries. The EU works with partners to tackle universal issues such as hunger and the preservation of natural resources. The EU remains the world’s largest development aid donor, providing more than 50% of assistance worldwide.
The European Consensus on Development, supporting the EU Global Strategy, commits the EU to eradicating poverty and building a fairer and more stable world. Over half of all development aid comes from the EU and its members, making them collectively the world's largest aid donor. Most aid goes to low-income and least developed countries.
The Consensus is a shared vision and framework for action for development cooperation for the European Union and its Member States. It is a blueprint which aligns the Union's development policy with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, focusing on: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership.
Based on the 2011 Agenda for Change, EU assistance is concentrated in two overall priority areas:
The EU takes an integrated approach to its external action. This includes taking a holistic view of the variety of policies and approaches necessary for sustainable development, such as peace and security, good governance and human rights - including gender equality, innovation, action to mitigate the effects of climate change and fair international economic relations. It also implies taking a partnership approach, at the bilateral and multi-lateral levels. Specifically, the EU’s development cooperation objectives are as follows:
EU development policy aims to give disadvantaged people in developing countries control over their own development. That means:
In line with its integrated approach, the EU complements its development aid with investment into partner countries. The European External Investment Plan (EIP) was adopted in September 2017 to help boost investment in partner countries in Africa and the European Neighbourhood. It aims to:
The EIP supports partner countries by:
Among others in the field of development cooperation, the EU has since 1975 developed a special partnership with the countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific. The current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (CPA) dates from 2000 and is also known as the 'Cotonou Agreement'. It was concluded for a twenty-year period and will expire in February 2020.
The EU and ACP countries are currently seeking to renew and update their partnership.
While the European External Action Service ensures synergies between development and other areas of external action, such as human rights, security, stability, conflict prevention, the European Commission, and in particular EuropeAid, is responsible for the implementation, operation and delivery of development aid.
Multi-annual strategies and programmes – prepared jointly by the EEAS and EuropeAid – specify where EU development assistance will be distributed.
When formulating and managing these programmes, the EU consults with national and regional authorities in potential recipient countries. This results in country and regional strategies, which identify areas for funding.
The EEAS supports EuropeAid as it implements aid and assesses effectiveness, whilst also promoting the dissemination of good practices.