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Ensuring full respect of human rights is one of the key features of the EU development cooperation. It is expressed either as a targeted human rights programme/project or as a cross cutting aspect of the development cooperation. In 2012 the EU adopted Rights-Based Approach to Development (RBAD) that all institutions including the EU Delegations are obliged to apply in each process of the development cooperation. As there has not been any review done by the EU, this paper assesses the EU policies, approaches and institutional readiness for the RBAD application from two aspects. First, the political rationale of the RBAD in development cooperation and their reflection in binding EU documents; and second, application of those binding provisions and the underlying challenges in terms of their full application. More specifically, the paper focuses on the RBAD as a new approach to the EU Development Cooperation and the situation or the potentiality of their application within the EU Delegations. The EU Toolbox developed in April 2014 (Commission staff working document, which aims at integrating human rights principles into EU operational activities for development) is referred to in detail to assess the full application of the RBAD in EU development cooperation. The political preference of this fairly new approach of the EU development policy expects a synchronisation of the human rights principles and norms in all development cooperation activities both at the HQs and in the field. However, this paper concludes that the application of the RBAD is not yet the case in each process of the EU development cooperation, which is largely due to the intra-institutional and external challenges. This paper briefly presents the major challenges identified and the potential measures required for full application of the RBAD principles within EU development cooperation.