The EU and its member states are by far the world’s largest donors, in terms of humanitarian aid and development spending. While the USA’s economy is significantly larger than any EU country, the proportion of its GDP (gross domestic product) that is spends on aid is much lower. This means that, whether through the UN, through the joint EU funds, or the individual EU member country direct activities, the EU is THE major force to be reckoned with when it comes to aid and development budgets. Combining their giving with the USA and other English-speaking countries, would cover about 90% of the total world giving for Humanitarian purposes. The challenge continues to be how best to spend sums that approach US$100 billion a year between these major donors. Before spending, there must first be consensus on how to go about tackling the problems, the priorities and who gets what. The document behind the above link describes the EU consensus on development as it stood in 2005. A separate document, also listed among the resources on this site, covers the Consensus for Humanitarian Aid. On paper at least, their focus and ambition are admirable.