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The European Union

The EU’s capabilities in development aid, trade, diplomacy and crisis management gives it a unique possibility to contribute to the fight against global poverty and for stable and sustainable global development.

The Treaty of Lisbon establishes development cooperation as an independent jurisdiction of the EU’s foreign policy, with the overall goal of reducing and ultimately eradicating poverty. The Treaty emphasizes that development cooperation goals must be considered, when the EU implements policies that might affect developing countries

As the world’s largest actor within development cooperation and with a global presence, the EU has a great potential to influence the global agenda in favour of development in the world’s poorest countries. The EU accounts for more than half the world’s total development aid through the member states’ own contributions and the Community Aid, and is therefore an important source of financing for many developing countries

The Community Aid constitutes more than 10 percent of international development aid and is financed through the EU budget and the European Development Fund. The Community Aid is managed by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank.

Development is at the heart of the EU’s external action, along with its foreign, security and trade policies. With the New European Consensus on Development (2017) the EU Member States, the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission have agreed on a common EU vision for development.

The EU Code of Conduct on Division of Labour in Development Policy (2007) presents a set of concrete measures to enhance complementarity and division of labour amongst EU donors. EU Toolkit for the Implementation of Complementarity and Division of Labour in Development Policy (2009) provides guidance on elements common to Member States and the Commission. It aims to facilitate the complementarity and division of labour process with a view to complying with international commitments and the general principles in the EU Code of Conduct.

Budget support is an important instrument in the EU's comprehensive development policy towards partner countries. Where the conditions are right, the Commission is committed to provide budget support as a means to strengthening country ownership, financing national development strategies (including poverty reduction strategies) and promoting sound and transparent public finances. Budget support involves the direct transfer of funds to a partner country’s budget where they can be managed using national systems. EU policy on adapting budget support to the changing environment and to improve its impact and value for money to achieve development results is described in the
The Future Approach to EU Budget Support to Third Countries.

Denmark works to strengthen the EU’s role as a global actor and as an effective and relevant partner at the country level. Denmark wants the EU at the frontline in the promotion of freedom, peace and development, and for the EU to lead in achieving the international goals of a larger and better development aid. Denmark puts emphasis on the need for EU policies, instruments and development actions to all work in the same development friendly direction.

In October 2013, Denmark launched an ambitious strategic framework for Denmark’s participation in EU development cooperation, Together for a Better World, which can be downloaded below.


For further information and enquiries, please contact Department for Africa, Policy and Development, [email protected]