The purpose of this paper is to analyse the essence of the European Union's development policy in the interdisciplinary perspective. To this end, it examines the legal and factual circumstances and determinants of this policy. It scrutinizes the principles and functioning of the EU development policy as well as its challenges and obstacles. In the context of changes taking place at the dawn of the new century, the paper addresses the following questions: what is the extent of the EU development policy institutionalisation; what is the attitude of political elites in Europe to the idea of international aid. The article aims to verify the assumption that the 1990s and early 21st century marked a significant revaluation of the European Union's development policy. On the one hand, development policy is becoming more crucial and comprehensive in character for the EU and its Member States. On the other hand, the current premises of EU development policy do not fully match the real needs of developing countries as it often lacks both sufficient coherence and effective co-ordination. EU development policy is divergent and multi-dimensional in nature. Hence an interdisciplinary approach seems to offer the most appropriate set of research tools. Full explanatory success can be achieved solely by reference to several theories/models. The complexity of the subject matter has made it necessary to employ a broad and wide-ranging research approach to attain an overall understanding of the problems reviewed.