Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is a partnership of mutual benefit which works towards modernising the countries situated on the European Union’s (EU) borders. The strategy review and assessment of the measures taken is encouraging for the continuation of reforms.
Communication from the Commission to the Parliament and the Council of 3.4.2008 - Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007 [COM(2008) 0164 Final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Communication gives a strategic review of the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2007. It assesses relations between the EU and its partners covered by the ENP, as well as the political and economic reforms carried out by these countries.
Partnership and Cooperation Agreements
(DE ES EN FR) have been concluded with neighbouring countries in the East, with the exception of Belarus, which will have the opportunity to become a full partner in the EU under the framework of the ENP provided that it engages in extensive democratic and economic reforms which would bring it in line with common European values.
Relations with Ukraine have intensified beyond the 1998 PCA and the EU-Ukraine Action Plan. The negotiation of a new Association Agreement began in 2007. It will establish a more ambitious framework, facilitate the deepening of EU-Ukraine relations in all areas, strengthen political association and economic integration between Ukraine and the European Union, as well as create a deep free trade area with the European Union.
Association Agreements have been concluded with neighbouring countries in the South under the framework of the Barcelona Process. With the exception of Syria, with whom relations are now governed by a cooperation agreement, and Libya, for whom the Council has adopted negotiating directives proposed by the Commission with a view to a future framework agreement.
Eight countries have concluded ENP Action Plans including Lebanon and Egypt in 2007. They provide a structure for implementing national reforms and strengthening bilateral cooperation with the EU. Community financial assistance is based on priorities detailed in the Action Plans. These targeted and differentiated instruments are adapted to the capacity and needs of each country. Thus cooperation relations with Israel, Morocco, Moldova and Ukraine were particularly intensified in 2007.
Progress of the reform programmes
Cooperation in terms of dialogue and political reform has been carried out in the East through progressive approximation to fundamental Community standards and in the South through integrating the values of the Barcelona Process. In particular, the measures undertaken related to democratic governance, the independence of the judiciary, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the management of migratory flows.
An open political dialogue between the EU and all partner countries should also enable progress to be made in resolving regional conflicts.
Regarding macroeconomic developments, most ENP partner countries registered high economic growth in 2007. At the same time, they have been contending with high rates of unemployment, particularly among the young in the Mediterranean ENP countries. The major challenges remain: reducing inflation and trade deficits, improving economic governance, reducing unemployment and improving working conditions. In August 2008, the Commission published an Economic Review of EU Neighbour Countries in 2007 (EN ).
Through sectoral reforms partners have made progress towards modernising their societies and towards integrating into the European market. The capacity of States to implement reforms in the long term is assessed annually in a sectoral progress report (EN ). Dialogue maintained with the EU regarding sectoral reforms aims to improve institutional functions and develop a citizen-oriented administration.
National progress reports are produced each year. They enable progress to be assessed and the identification of areas where cooperation needs to be increased. As such, future reforms must improve trade and economic integration, mobility and address regional conflicts.
Regional cooperation processes
Strengthening the regional dimension of the ENP is carried out as part of existing processes.
Through the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, "Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean" launched on 13 July 2008 in Paris, a regional dialogue has been undertaken regarding:
- political cooperation, security and defence;
- democracy and the role of civil society;
- economics and financial cooperation, particularly regarding the creation of a free trade area;
- the environment, energy, services and the right of establishment;
- social, human and cultural cooperation, particularly regarding education, the information society and similar issues.
The EU-Africa strategic partnership and its first Action Plan are an essential contribution to the sectoral dialogue and deepening of relations with African partners.
The Black Sea Synergy complements multilaterally the existing relations with the Russian Federation, Turkey and the Eastern ENP partners (except Belarus). A report on the first year of the implementation of the Black Sea Synergy was adopted in June 2008.
The second generation ENP Action Plans, which will be better adapted to the objectives and capacities of each of the partners, should lead progressively towards regulatory convergence with European standards.
Increased visibility of the reforms and raising citizens’ awareness of the measures taken will also contribute to the success of the cooperation.
Since its implementation began, the ENP has contributed to the prosperity, stability and security of the EU’s borders. The success of this policy demonstrates the benefits of adapting cooperation to the different needs of partner countries.