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Brussels, 3 April 2008

EU deepens ties with its neighbours and supports their reforms

In the past year, the European Union has substantially strengthened its relations with its neighbours and supported their democratic and economic reform efforts through the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). A policy paper adopted by the European Commission today takes stock of the concrete progress made by partner countries in a great number of areas, from political cooperation to trade, migration and visa facilitation, from energy, transport, research and innovation to students' and youth mobility[1]. The Commission also identifies areas where further efforts are required, and encourages a targeted and differentiated deepening of relations with select partners that have shown particular ambition and capacity. This process has already started with Ukraine and the Commission now proposes to further intensify cooperation with Israel, Moldova and Morocco. Individual country reports for each country with an ENP Action Plan and a sectoral report accompany the policy paper[2].

Our neighbourhood policy is a success story. We work closely with our partners to help them advance their structural reforms and bring them closer to our Union. Progress on the ground over the last year has been remarkable in many countries and our relations with our neighbours to the South and to the East are becoming more intense and fruitful by the day.” said Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy. And she added: "This is a tailor-made partnership for reform, to the benefit of our partners and citizens alike. Each country shapes its relationship with us individually. In this vein, we are now considering to specifically deepen our ties with four countries that have shown particular progress and ambition."

Since the end of 2006 ...

Economic integration is progressing

  • Negotiations were launched with Ukraine on a New Enhanced Agreement including on a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Area.
  • Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia started bilateral negotiations on liberalisation of services and establishment. Israel will follow shortly.
  • Autonomous trade preferences were offered to Moldova.
  • Studies exploring the possibility of free trade agreements with Georgia and Armenia will soon be concluded.

Mobility with certain countries has been facilitated

  • Readmission and visa facilitation agreements with Ukraine and Moldova are now in force.
  • Moldova was chosen as the seat of the first joint EU visa application centre as well as a pilot country with which to develop a “mobility partnership”, to facilitate legal migration while combating illegal migration.

Cooperation on justice and fight against organised crime has increased

  • To strengthen regional cooperation in the Mediterranean, training schemes have been put for judges, prosecutors, lawyers and senior police officers. Almost 1,000 professionals from the Mediterranean ENP partners have already been trained.
  • Ukraine started a reform of its legal and judicial system including reform of company law and elimination of inconsistencies between different legislative acts in order to ensure a more predictable and transparent business climate.

Energy cooperation contributes to more energy security

  • The EU has signed Memoranda of Understanding on energy cooperation with energy producer Azerbaijan and transit country Ukraine and expects to conclude soon similar ones with key producers Algeria and Egypt.
  • Joint energy declarations were signed with Morocco and Jordan.
  • Several oil and gas pipelines and interconnections linking the EU, candidate countries and ENP partners are being developed and will lead to enhanced energy security for their citizens.

Transport links are strengthened

  • An aviation agreement signed with Morocco is leading to gradual opening of the market, an extensive alignment with EU legislation and increased air traffic (by 17% in 2007). It reduces fares and improves choice for tourists, while helping to build tourist industry and provide employment.
  • Negotiations on a similar agreement were launched with Ukraine in January 2008.

And more ...

  • The ENP partners have the possibility to align their positions with the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) positions. Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia have chosen to do so regularly and Morocco and Jordan have recently decided the same.
  • Partner countries have continued to prepare investment projects to promote the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The Southern partner countries have worked together to establish a list of 44 priority projects to de-pollute the Mediterranean Sea.
  • ENP partners can participate in Community programmes and agencies. Israel is the first one to participate in the EU’s CIP - Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme.
  • Israel (as an associated member), Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, in particular, have been successful participants in the first calls under 7th Framework Research Programme.
  • The number of students from ENP partners who participated in the Erasmus Mundus programme in 2007 has increased by over 40%. There was also a 4 times increase in the number of young people from ENP countries in voluntary services actions under the EU Youth in Action Programme.
  • The EU assistance to ENP partners has increased considerably: €1.65 billion was committed in 2007. The annual cost to the EU budget amounts to just over €3 per EU citizen.

Hundreds of experts from all over the EU work on a daily basis with their counterparts in the partner countries, to help them advance their reforms and to share with them EU know-how and best practices in various areas.

Memos summarising the situation of each country are available at

Armenia European Neighbourhood Policy - ARMENIA

Azerbaijan European Neighbourhood Policy - AZERBAIJAN

Egypt European Neighbourhood Policy – EGYPT

Georgia European Neighbourhood Policy – GEORGIA

Israel European Neighbourhood Policy – ISRAEL

Jordan European Neighbourhood Policy – JORDAN

Lebanon European Neighbourhood Policy – LEBANON

Morocco Politique Européenne de Voisinage – MAROC

Moldova European Neighbourhood Policy - MOLDOVA

The occupied Palestinian territory :


Tunisia Politique Européenne de Voisinage – TUNISIE

Ukraine European Neighbourhood Policy - UKRAINE

For more on the ENP

[1] Communication from the Commission to the Parliament and the Council "Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007", 3 April 2008.

[2] Country reports for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Moldova, the occupied Palestinian territory, Tunisia and Ukraine and the sectoral report are available at

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