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Neighbourhood policy: participation in European Union Agencies and programmes
The participation of the European Neighbourhood Policy partner countries in European Union (EU) Agencies and programmes boosts cooperation between the EU and its partners. This participation also assists them in strengthening their institutions, their reform process and aligning their legislation, norms and standards with European legislation and practice.
Communication from the Commission to the Council and to the European Parliament of 4 December 2006 on the general approach to enable ENP partner countries to participate in Community Agencies and Community programmes [COM(2006) 724 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) partner countries which have concluded either association agreements or partnership and cooperation agreements with the European Union (EU) may participate in Agencies and EU programmes which support the implementation of European policies.
This participation, provided for in the ENP action plans, is undertaken on a voluntary basis. It must be in the interest of both the ENP partners as well as the EU. The main objective is to contribute to national reforms, to administrative capacity building and to the alignment of standards, and if necessary, EU legislation.
In March 2007, the Council of the EU agreed to the gradual participation of 13 ENP partners in EU Agencies and programmes (Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Moldova, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Tunisia and Ukraine). This was agreed in order to encourage regulatory and administrative reform, and to promote the convergence of partners’ policies with EU norms, standards and good practice.
Participation in EU Agencies
Including ENP countries in agencies is a gradual and selective process. The Commission identifies their participation capacity in terms of the country’s priorities, the situation regarding the sectoral reforms undertaken, as well as its long-term commitment. The Commission also takes in account the existing advantages for the EU and the agencies’ integration capacities.
The participation of the ENP countries in the agencies is the subject of technical agreements. However, before their conclusion, a period can be organised to enable the ENP partners to familiarise themselves with the agencies concerned. This preparatory stage allows them to adapt their legislation, norms, standards and approaches to European best practice. If necessary, legislative alignment may also be required.
ENP countries may participate in the work of the Agencies or conduct cooperation actions depending on their areas of activity .
Participation in EU programmes
ENP partners may participate solely in EU programmes which are open to non-EU member countries. The general objective of the programmes is to assist in the implementation of EU policies through cooperation between EU countries.
The general conditions of ENP countries’ participation in programmes are provided by the framework-agreements. Agreement protocols for each programme then establish the rules of participation for each country.
The main programmes concerned are:
- the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP);
- Customs 2013;
- Health (2008-2013);
- the consumer policy (2007-2013).
The specific cooperation conditions concerning certain activities are also provided for the following programmes:
- Hercule II;
- Fundamental Rights and Justice;
- prevention, preparedness and consequence management of terrorism;
- prevention of and fight against crime;
- Marco Polo,
- civil protection;
- lifelong learning and training;
- media 2007;
- Youth in Action;
- 7th framework programme for research;
- 2008 statistics;
- cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation actions under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Terms and conditions
Each ENP country pays a financial contribution, which varies according to the Agency or the programme and is based on various factors. This takes the form of a contribution to the general budget of the EU.
The Commission presents regular reports on the progress achieved in implementing the ENP, as well as the situation regarding implementation of the individual ENP action plans, which also contain information on the participation of partner countries in EU Agencies and programmes.