The European Union (EU) is a unique case in international development. It is both a bilateral donor – granting assistance through the European Community (EC) – and a multilateral donor – embodying the efforts of its twenty-seven Member States. The sum of these two dimensions makes it the largest provider of foreign aid in the world: in 2006 it channelled about US$ 59 billion, which represents 57 per cent of the aid provided by the members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC).1 Despite the wide acknowledgement that policy co-ordination substantially improves the impact of its development co-operation policy, both in terms of effectiveness and visibility in the international arena, the Member States consistently resisted any intrusion into what they considered a key area of their national sovereignty. Since the beginning of the 2000s, this state of affairs has significantly changed. The adoption of the European Consensus on Development in December 2005 and the Code of Conduct on Complementarity and Division of Labour in May 2007 indicate a turning point in the relations between the EU and the developing world. For the first time, Member States, European Commission and European Parliament have agreed on a common view and set of strategies to guide their policies and actions in the promotion of international development. All these initiatives represent the culmination of a process that started with the commitments made by the Member States in Barcelona, on the eve of the 2002 international conference on Financing for Development (FfD), to boost the quantity and enhance the quality of foreign aid.