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Brussels, 25 May 2011

Statement by President Barroso: a concrete response to the Arab Spring and the aspirations of our Eastern Partners

President Barroso made the following statement on the adoption of an extra 1.24 billion euros for European Neighbourhood Policy on the eve of the G8 Summit - a concrete response to the Arab Spring and the aspirations of our Eastern Partners

"The European Commission has today decided to increase the funding for European Neighbourhood Policy by 1.24 billion euros, increasing the EU's support to our partners in the South and the East to nearly 7 billion euros over the next two years.

This is much more than a commitment to extra money. It is a tangible expression of our commitment to reforms in the partner countries. And it shows we are serious in our desire to help those who aspire to political freedom and a better future. This is in our shared interest. We all share one future. If we promote democracy and development, we foster stability and avoid instability.

We need to set clearer conditions and give 'more for more'. One concrete example is to create a European Endowment for Democracy to support our partner's democratic changes. We will also set up a Civil Society Facility to enhance the political role of non-state actors, such as NGOs or social partners.

Aid alone is not the answer to the socio-economic challenges in our neighbourhood. We need to do more to boost growth and jobs. I will push for faster free trade agreements, targeted concessions and smart investment facilities. That is a win-win situation for us and our partners."

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