What can the EU do?
Also in cases of man-made or natural disasters, the EU provides funding for emergency relief to victims in the framework of its humanitarian aid policy. The central institution for coordinating European humanitarian assistance is the European Community’s Humanitarian Office (ECHO).
Through its development policy, the EU also supports countries in their efforts to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development worldwide according to the recently adopted Sustainable Development Agenda. In addition, through dialogue with third countries, it also endeavours to promote respect for the rule of law, good governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms. For enhancing the effectiveness and visibility of its human rights policy, the EU has appointed a Special Representative for Human Rights.
Thanks to its common commercial policy and its gradually extended exclusive competences, the EU has also become a major world player in international trade. It is the principal trading partner of more than 100 countries worldwide. As a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the EU has also been an active player in the Doha Development Agenda with the objective of further liberalising trade, while at the same time improving developing countries' access to global markets. Currently, the EU is negotiating a number of bilateral and regional Free Trade Agreements, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States.