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Taking stock of the European Neighbourhood Policy

The Commission reviews progress made in implementing the ENP, overall and with each partner. This review should enable it to assess the validity of the ENP’s objectives and to amend, if necessary, the terms of the European Union’s commitment in the Mediterranean region and in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 12 May 2010 - Taking stock of the European Neighbourhood Policy [COM(2010) 207 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

This Communication takes stock of progress made since the launch of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). This analysis is intended to guide developments in the policy in the years to come.

All of the ENP partners have taken advantage of the cooperation established. However, not all of them have implemented the necessary policies and legislation. Progress remains to be made in many sectors, including democratic governance.

Strengthening of bilateral relations from 2004 to 2009

Most Mediterranean partners have concluded Association Agreements (AAs) to strengthen their relations with the EU. Similarly, the AAs are gradually replacing the old partnership and cooperation agreements concluded with the eastern neighbours.

Progress in the area of good governance remains insufficient. Delays have also been reported in relation to human rights and the operation of judicial and electoral systems.

The Treaty of Lisbon should help the EU to contribute better to the resolution of protracted conflicts. The EU conducts civilian peace-making missions, relying in particular on the increase in cultural exchanges and trade.

Legal and regular mobility of persons should be encouraged while ensuring tighter control on those who could exploit mobility for criminal purposes. In this context, the EU has taken steps to simplify visa procedures with a view to the total liberalisation of short stay visa regimes.

The progressive establishment of Free Trade Areas (FTAs) involves continuing the alignment of the partners’ legislation with that of the EU, facilitating the trading of goods and services, and encouraging the establishment of companies and direct foreign investment. The setting up of FTAs should also be accompanied by a strengthening of social, consumer and environmental protection.

The EU and its partners should strengthen their cooperation in order to face the common challenges in the field of the environment. Improved environmental governance, higher resource efficiency and appropriate use of ecosystem services are the elements of long-term sustainable development.

Climate change should be taken into account in all of the policies concerned. Efforts should be made to increase energy efficiency, to promote sustainable transport, and to adapt certain sectors to changes in climate conditions (agriculture, water, natural hazards, etc.).

The EU intends to ensure energy efficiency and stable supplies to its territory. To this end, it encourages the use of renewable energies and, in particular, has signed Energy Memoranda of Understanding with a number of eastern countries. In the Mediterranean region, the priorities concern the development of regional interconnections and the use of solar energy.

Reorientation of financial instruments

The financing of the ENP is based on the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). Since the mid-term review of the programming documents, country allocations have been better adapted to the needs, the levels of ambition and progress and the absorption capacity of partners.

The external mandate of the European Investment Bank (EIB) has been the subject of a mid-term review for the period 2007-2013. The Commission has also proposed to allocate an additional EUR 2 billion to support investments related to climate change, of which up to EUR 1 billion could be used in neighbouring countries.

Progress in multilateral relations

The Union for the Mediterranean is a new political framework which aims to strengthen the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Progress has already been made, despite a political context rendered more complex by the Gaza conflict. Northern African countries have also benefited from the cooperation activities carried out in the context of the Africa-EU Partnership.

The Eastern Partnership was launched in May 2009, to establish a political association and to further economic integration between the EU and its eastern partners. This partnership is based mainly on bilateral relations between the EU and each of its partners. It also comprises a multilateral track aiming to promote cooperation, political dialogue and the exchange of experience and best practice.

Finally, the Black Sea Synergy has also helped to encourage regional cooperation. A first sectoral partnership has been launched in the area of the environment.

Last updated: 23.08.2010
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