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European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy
IPA and ENI reflecting EU's support to closest neighbours
Joint debate External instruments, European Parliament Plenary, Strasbourg
10 December 2013
Chairman, Honourable Members,
I would like to thank both rapporteurs for the quality of the report.
Tomorrow's very important vote on the package of new external action instruments sends an important signal to the countries concerned that the European Union remains committed to supporting them.
Let me start with three remarks about the new Instrument for Pre-Accession assistance (IPA II),
First, the final compromise confirms that Parliament, the Member States and the Commission have a common vision for the on-going support of our closest neighbours;
Second, there is consensus that we should support political reforms, as well as economic, social and territorial development.
The overall funding, which is roughly equal to the current level, will allow us to continue the successful work started under IPA I in:
• promoting important reforms in the enlargement countries; and
• using the transformative power of our enlargement policy.
This transformation is important for both the enlargement countries and the European Union, since it increases security, stability and prosperity. IPA2 will concentrate assistance on a limited number of policy areas and sectors that will help beneficiary countries strengthen their democratic functioning, economic governance and social development.
We seek to ensure an even closer link between the enlargement strategy and the priorities for assistance. Incentives will be available to countries that advance on their reform path; in case of underperformance, funds will be reallocated.
Turning to the European Neighbourhood Instrument, I am reassured that it will sustain our policy ambitions towards the Eastern and Southern partners.
The key elements of the Neighbourhood Policy, differentiation and the incentive based approach, are now clearly outlined in the ENI. Under the new approach of the ENI, we will increase resources to those partners that are showing clear progress on reforms towards deep and sustainable democracy and respect for human rights, and I thank the Parliament for its continued commitment to this element. Let me mention some other innovative elements in the new instrument:
a. a more streamlined programming process;
b. amended provisions for Cross-Border Cooperation programmes; and
c. closer links with European Union internal instruments and policies.
We will continue supporting partner countries by promoting:
• respect for human rights and the rule of law:
• sustainable and inclusive growth;
• progressive integration in the European Union's internal market;
• mobility and people-to-people contacts; and
• regional integration.
Given the difficult overall MFF framework, we have to accept financial resources for the ENI that are comparable to those of the past seven years and not higher. To make the most of these resources, we will differentiate between partners and we will strictly implement the incentive based approach. The majority of funds should go to partners with high ambitions for cooperation with the European Union, committed to reform, and with whom we share a value base.
Thank you for your attention.