European Union

Ireland uses its membership of the European Union to influence the direction of its overall development co-operation policies to ensure they deliver results and make a real difference in the lives of poor people.

Why we work with the EU

We use our membership of the EU to further our aim of reducing world poverty and hunger. As the world’s largest provider of development support, the European Union (EU) is in a powerful position to influence global development issues.

As the world’s largest provider of development support, the European Union (EU) is in a powerful position to influence global development issues.

The EU is responsible for over half of all Official Development Assistance (ODA) worldwide. This amounts to approximately €9 billion per year in assistance to developing countries. Given its resources, the EU is in a unique position to influence national and global development agendas and to carry out large-scale projects in developing countries.

Its broad geographic representation means that it can operate in countries where member states, including Ireland, are not present. For example, it has offices in all 43 fragile states.  

The development co-operation policy of the EU is guided by the 2005 European Consensus for Development , agreed by all the member states, including Ireland.

How we work with the EU

Ireland provides around €25 million annually to the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries through our contribution to the European Development Fund.  This is in addition to the €75 million paid annually by Ireland to the general EU budget for development assistance.

Our Minister of State for Trade and Development formally engages with other EU Development Ministers twice a year at the development segment of the Foreign Affairs Council. We seek to influence  EU polices through our participation in the following  working parties where development policy and practice on key development priorities are addressed:

  • The Development working party (CODEV) deals with general aspects of development co-operation such as international commitments, aid effectiveness and policy coherence. It covers a variety of topics, including gender equality and reproductive health and crosscutting issues such as trade and development and environment
  • The African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) working party deals with European co-operation with African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) as established by the Cotonou Agreement. The Cotonou Agreement is the most comprehensive partnership agreement between the European Union and developing countries. The agreement provides a framework for co-operation within the pillars of development and trade as well as a political dimension.
  • The Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid (COHAFA) working party allows for exchange of views on the humanitarian strategies and policies of the European Union as well as response to humanitarian crises.

 Our partner countries

As well as engaging with the EU in Brussels, we also work in close co-operation with EU delegations and other EU Member State missions our partner countries