This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explains the moral economy of European Union (EU) Association with African countries and the 'normativity-outcomes gap' between ethical language and material actualities. It explores the historical norms embedded within the moral economy, and thereafter examining how EU institutions fall short of apparent 'development' objectives. This assesses, in particular, EU interventions to bolster African competitiveness in the context of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) via certain aid initiatives, including budget support, Aid for Trade, private sector development, and the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) 'decent work' work agenda. The chapter considers critical discourse analysis and the functions of language with regards to the policy behaviours of EU officials and African representatives/civil society actors. It assesses the current normative dimensions of EU Association with Africa, with particular reference to the EPA agenda.