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Strategy for the eastern region 2007-2013

The regional strategy document for the Eastern Region identifies the cross-cutting challenges to which a regional response can be provided through new or complementary measures and instruments provided by the European Union. The countries concerned are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia.

ACT

European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument – Eastern Regional Programme – Strategy Paper 2007-2013 (pdf ).

SUMMARY

The regional strategy paper (RSP) defines the objectives and priorities for regional cooperation on the basis of the European neighbourhood and partnership instrument (ENPI) for the period 2007-2013. In this respect, it supplements the country strategy papers (CSPs) established for each country in the region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia).

The RSP contributes to the achievement of the objectives of the European neighbourhood policy (ENP) with partner countries and of the Four Common Spaces with Russia, in addition to bilateral relations between the European Union (EU) and these countries. Within this context, regional cooperation concerns the challenges that are of common interest for all the countries and that have a cross-border nature.

Moreover, this regional support is justified by its added value or the need for joint intervention by several countries in order to solve cross-border issues. Thus, the willingness of the partner countries to cooperate on a regional basis and to embrace this cooperation is fundamental.

Regional cooperation in a number of sectors will also support further economic and regulatory integration with the EU.

Common challenges for partner countries

The Eastern Region groups a number of countries that share a common past but that are pursuing their own transition process. These countries are facing similar political, economic, social and environmental challenges.

The indicative programme (IP) for the period 2007-2010 (pdf ) covers a specific number of priorities set in consultation with partner countries. They have been chosen for their strategic importance, their comparative advantage and their complementarity at regional level, and also for their coherence with EU policies in this area.

Transport and energy, and in particular networks in these sectors, constitute an essential priority given that the countries in the region are both producer countries and transit countries. Assistance is based on experience acquired under the TRACECA and INOGATE programmes. It includes the following:

  • transport safety, in particular gradual approximation with EU standards, and also development of sustainable transport;
  • energy supply diversity and safety, and the promotion of renewable sources of energy;
  • development of links and networks between the EU and its neighbours in order to strengthen trade relations in particular.

Protection of the environment and forests and the fight against climate change are of critical importance for the IP. Air and water quality, waste management, the protection of nature and soils, and industrial pollution will be given special attention, as will pollution of the Baltic, Barents, Caspian and Black Seas. Increased awareness and involvement of civil society and the private sector are necessary to support efforts undertaken in this area.

Border and migration management, the fight against cross-border organised crime and customs at regional level will create economies of scale on account of their cross-border nature. Specifically, the EU supports measures against human trafficking, corruption and terrorism at national and international level.

Moreover, people-to people activities and information and support will benefit from assistance in order to stimulate cooperation between civil society and EU partner countries.

Finally, landmines, explosive remnants of war, small arms and light weapons constitute a serious threat for civilians and for the environment. As a consequence of former or “frozen” conflicts, many countries are confronted with the presence of anti-personnel landmines and other remnants of war. In addition, sustained assistance and clear action strategies are essential in this area.

Instruments and means

Several instruments and measures will support the achievement of these priorities. The ENPI is the main instrument and includes the following:

  • national allocations focused on the strategic priorities of beneficiary countries;
  • cross-border cooperation (CBC) and Neighbourhood and Partnership Programmes (NPP), which are intended to promote cross-border cooperation between beneficiary countries, the EU, candidate countries and potential candidate countries;
  • the Interregional Programme, whose activities will be implemented consistently in all neighbouring countries (TAIEX, Tempus, SIGMA, etc.);
  • thematic programmes under the new instruments such as democracy and human rights, migration and asylum, non-state actors and local authorities, environment and use of natural resources or even energy.

Moreover, other instruments will or can also be used.

At the same time, the use of interest-rate subsidies can leverage investments by various international financing institutions in the areas of the environment, energy and transport.

Background

In accordance with the objectives of its external policy, the EU promotes prosperity, solidarity, security and sustainable development throughout the world as well as democracy and human rights. The ENP launched after the fifth enlargement pursues these objectives while insisting on relations of good neighbourliness between the EU and its neighbours. For this, the ENPI, the ENP financial instrument for the period 2007-2013, supports ENP partner countries and Russia by integrating the regional and cross-border dimension and by pursuing the objectives identified by the previous Tacis programme.

RELATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 3 December 2008 – Eastern Partnership [COM(2008) 823 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission presents proposals aimed at strengthening the EU’s commitment to its eastern neighbours. This regional partnership should lead to the conclusion of association agreements. It should also support the acceleration of economic reforms, political dialogue and multilateralism, in particular through a comprehensive institution-building programme.

The deepening of bilateral relations should take place within the framework of:

  • the gradual establishing of a free trade area with the EU, supplemented progressively by free trade agreements between the partner countries;
  • cooperation on energy, considering the existing interdependent trade relations between the EU and its partners;
  • the introduction of “mobility and security pacts”, differentiated by country, outlining both a progressive liberalisation of the visa policy and an intensification of the fight against illegal immigration;
  • the development of economic and social policies at local, regional and cross-border levels.

The partnership should be based on a new multilateral framework. Implemented through four thematic platforms, it aims at developing cooperation and dialogue in the following areas:

  • democracy, the rule of law, good governance, stability and territorial integrity;
  • economic integration and regulatory convergence with the EU;
  • the environment;
  • the interconnection of transport and information networks;
  • energy security, in particular through warning mechanisms, the diversification of supply and transit routes;
  • culture and contacts between people.

Specific initiatives are also planned concerning good border management, small and medium enterprises, renewable energies and the response to natural or man-made disasters.

The Commission proposes an overall increase in the funding granted to eastern partners under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). It invites Member States to increase their direct contributions Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF).

This new initiative for eastern partnership should be launched at the “Eastern Partnership Meeting” in spring 2009.

Last updated: 30.10.2009
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