Brussels, 15 May 2012
Remarks by Commissioner Štefan Füle at the presentation of the ENP Package 2012
''Thank you, Cathy
As you already said, the EU has done a lot in the last year to implement the new European Neighbourhood Policy and to start delivering on our commitments.
I would like to mention a few examples of what the EU has done in practice.
On trade, we have completed negotiations on a “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area” with Ukraine, launched new negotiations with Moldova, Georgia and Armenia and obtained negotiating directives for Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco. This is key to promote approximation with EU acquis and provide an anchor for sustained economic reform in partner countries
On mobility we are slowly but steadily moving towards a visa free area involving our eastern neighbours. And in the South we have launched Partnership Dialogues on migration, mobility and security with Morocco and Tunisia opening the way to mobility partnerships. This is an offer we have also made to Egypt (not yet taken up) and that we would like to extend to Jordan.
On sector co-operation, let me mention as positive examples: the enlargement of Energy Community to Ukraine and Moldova, the mandate to negotiate the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, the progress on negotiating comprehensive air service agreements with the Republic of Moldova, Israel and Ukraine. All these are concrete steps towards integration of EU neighbours in the EU internal market.
On civil society, we have established partnerships with societies in neighbouring countries, including those on which the EU has imposed sanctions and suspended financial assistance. This is a fundamental component of the policy. A Civil Society Facility covering the entire neighbourhood was launched with an initial budget of EUR 26 million for 2011 and similar additional amounts planned for 2012 and 2013.
We have refocused EUR 600 million of existing resources to support democratic transition, economic development and people to people contacts. By 2013, we will make available a billion euro of extra grant funding under the ENPI. And through extended mandates of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), we have opened the door to substantial additional investments in partner countries (e.g. 1 billion for the EIB lending to the South Mediterranean countries only for 2011-2013).
Concrete steps like these have helped us to make a success of the 2nd Eastern partnership summit, in Warsaw, last September. The summit confirmed the political commitments of the EU and of its Eastern neighbours to move towards deeper political association and further economic integration and paved the way for deepening the Eastern Partnership.
As part of the 2012 ENP package the Commission and the High Representative have adopted a joint Communication on the Eastern Partnership – A Roadmap to the autumn 2013 Eastern Partnership Summit. The Communication describes for the first time in one set of documents the range of bilateral and multilateral activities under the Eastern Partnership label. It is intended to serve as a practical tool for assessing the progress of the Eastern Partnership.
The Roadmap allows the EU and the Eastern European partner countries jointly to guide the commitment to democratic reforms and economic transformation. It will give impetus to the implementation of work needed to advance the objectives of the Eastern Partnership: to accelerate political association and deepen economic integration of the partner countries with the EU; to increase the mobility of citizens in a secure and well managed environment; and to foster cooperation across a wide range of sectors.
But we should not indulge in self-congratulation. The EU needs to step up the pace of delivery, for example to promote EU investments in partner countries, to accelerate the process leading to DCFTAs, to encourage industrial cooperation and social dialogue. There are also reform challenges and sectors of co-operation on which we need to draw our partners’ attention. We expect them to increase responsiveness to our proposals.
Nevertheless I believe that we can say that the ENP “package” presented today gives evidence of concrete and substantial changes in our approach towards our neighbours. It is clear that we want to strengthen our support to the regional cooperation frameworks. But it is also clear that we want to focus increased resources and attention towards the countries most committed to reforms, and that we consider each country with increased respect for their own specificity and reform path.''