Brussels, 5 December 2007
A Strong European Neighbourhood Policy
– further efforts are needed
Further efforts from the EU side are necessary to
make a reality of the proposals already made to strengthen the European
Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). A new Communication from Commissioner for External
Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, sets out
what actions are needed by the Member States and the Commission, particularly in
the fields of trade, mobility and tackling frozen conflicts in the EU’s
neighbourhood. A number of actions are foreseen in 2008 to reinforce sectoral
reforms in the neighbourhood countries. A further communication next spring will
address the performance of the neighbourhood partners, with progress reports on
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner said: "We are now in the implementation phase of
the Neighbourhood Policy. This is a jointly owned initiative, and implementation
requires action on both sides, by the EU, and its neighbours. Today's
Communication sets out where we need to see additional efforts by the Commission
and Member States to ensure that the promises made to our partners are kept, and
that the incentives for reform that we have offered are concrete, credible and
relevant to their needs".
The Communication sets the following objectives for 2008 and
- Greater political commitment to foster economic integration and improve
market access. The Communication calls on Member States to support ongoing
agricultural negotiations, in particular limiting the number of products
excluded from full liberalisation.
- The facilitation of legitimate short-term travel, as well as more ambitious
longer term developments in managed migration. The Commission urges the Council
and the European Parliament to adopt its 2006 " package" on visas, and to make
full use of the opportunities under existing rules to facilitate travel.
- Further engagement with ENP partners in tackling frozen conflicts, using the
full range of instruments at the EU's disposal, to stabilise conflict and
- Intensified EU support for partner countries’ sectoral reforms in
areas such as: energy, climate change, fisheries, transport, maritime policy,
research, information society, education, employment and social
Since the Communication proposing measures to strengthen
ENP, a number of the items suggested then have already been implemented:
- The Commission has decided today on its first €50 million allocation
to the Neighbourhood Investment Facility to be committed by the end of this
year. Some Member States have already signalled their intention to contribute to
the Facility. Operation of the facility will begin in 2008.
- The first allocations have been made under the new Governance Facility,
which provides additional support to partner countries that have made most
progress in implementing the governance priorities in their action plans.
Morocco (€28 million) and Ukraine (€22 million) are the first
- The Black Sea Synergy has been launched to provide a regional dimension for
the Eastern Neighbourhood
- Negotiations to enable neighbours to participate in EU programmes and
agencies are underway with Israel, Morocco and Ukraine. The imminent signature
of the Protocol with Israel will enable it to become the first ENP partner to
participate in the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme.
- The European Neighbourhood Policy, a partnership for reform with the
neighbouring countries to the South and to the East, has already produced
tangible, concrete results.
It has allowed a substantial deepening of the Union’s relations with some
of its close neighbours (EU offer is directed to Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, the
Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and
Ukraine), according to the
principle of the differentiation that enables those who wish to engage more
deeply with the EU to do so.
The ENP goes beyond classical political
cooperation to include elements of economic integration, as well as support for
reforms to stimulate economic and social development. The tool to achieve these
reforms are the commonly agreed Action Plans scheduled for 3-5 years with
precise commitments to promote economic modernisation, strengthen the rule of
law, democracy and the respect for human rights and to cooperate on key foreign
For more information on the ENP
 See MEMO/07/548
 It does not cover the
EFTA/EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), the
candidate and potential candidate countries (Croatia, the former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro,
Serbia including Kosovo) and Russia.