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Brussels, 7 December 2011

Statement by EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle on the budget proposals for EU external instruments from 2014-2020

This is an important week for enlargement. In two days time, Member States will sign the Accession Treaty with Croatia, paving the way to become a new member state soon.

But today, we are already adopting proposals that demonstrate our continued commitment to all the other enlargement countries. We also demonstrate our continued commitment to the 16 countries in our neighbourhood.

By doing so, we continue our support for the democratisation process, support for economic and social development in our immediate neighbourhood, as well as support for the reform process in those countries preparing for EU membership.

Today's proposals will allow us to respond better to our partner's needs and ambitions. Through the new European Neighbourhood Instrument and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance, support to our neighbours will become faster and more flexible; allowing for increased differentiation and incentives for best performers.

The renewed instrument for pre-accession (IPA) has been a very successful instrument to promote important reforms in the enlargement countries. It has greatly enhanced the transformative power of our enlargement policy. Its success is important for both the enlargement countries and the EU.

We will continue to support the reform process and propose to maintain a substantial and stable level of funding (€ 14,1 billion for 2014-2020: the same level of funding as for 2013). A credible enlargement policy needs a credible level of financial assistance, and this is what we are proposing today.

Despite its success, improvements can be made to the current pre-accession instrument.

The improvements we propose are:

  • A more coherent reflection of political priorities into a multi-annual strategy, targeting key sectors for reform

  • a more tailored approach reflecting the needs of the countries,

  • increased flexibility and simplification for faster and easier access to funding,

  • more focus on results: a system of performance incentives will help to allocate funds more easily to the best performing countries and sectors.

These innovations to IPA will require stronger political commitment. But they will also provide for improved predictability for beneficiary countries, so that they can devote more resources on actual implementation.

On European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), we are today proposing a substantial increase in the resources allocated to our bilateral relations with the 16 countries covered by the neighbourhood policy. This is because peace, prosperity and sustainable democratisation in our neighbours are increasingly important for the security of the EU and its citizens.

The new European Neighbourhood Instrument is the complement of our more ambitious approach towards our neighbours that we outlined in the Joint Communication on the ENP released last May. It is part of the overall response to the evolution of our relationships with our neighbours and also a direct answer to the revolutionary movements to the south of the EU.

This is why we have decided to align deeds with words and are proposing a substantial increase (by 40%) in the budget allocated to the neighbourhood - to ensure the success of the democratisation process and to improve economic and social development.

Indeed, the ENI plays an important role in assisting the transformation process in the Southern Mediterranean and for our Eastern Partners.

The ENI will be based on the new principles of the ENP, in particular 'More for More' and increased differentiation.

A major effort has been made to simplify the implementation of the cross borders activities under the ENP, which remains a key feature of the instrument. Russia will remain eligible to cross border cooperation under the ENI.

Implementing the new European Neighbourhood Policy through the new ENI needs to be done together with the citizens and governments in our partner countries. In line with the new approach to the ENP, I intend to make sure that that the voice of Civil Society will be heard and that their opinions and suggestions are taken into account when preparing and delivering our assistance.

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