Category Archives: Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Framework for relations
Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs): Russia, Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia
Black Sea Synergy
Readmission agreements with Eastern European countries
Russia
Stratégie pour la Russie 2007-2013 (FR)
EU-Russia environmental cooperation
Agreement on readmission with Russia
Facilitating the issuance of short-stay visas with Russia
Transit Kaliningrad – Russian mainland: proposals and implementation
European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)

Tacis programme

Tacis programme

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Tacis programme

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Eastern europe and central asia

Tacis programme (2000-2006)

The TACIS programme aims to promote the transition to a market economy and to reinforce democracy and the rule of law in the partner states in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 99/2000 of 29 December 1999 concerning the provision of assistance to the partner states in Eastern Europe and Central Asia [See amending acts].

Summary

1. The Community’s Tacis programme encourages democratisation, the strengthening of the rule of law and the transition to a market economy in the New Independent States (NIS), created as a result of the break-up of the Soviet Union. The states are as follows: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

2. Covering the 2000-2006 period, it is based on the principles and objectives set out in the partnership and cooperation agreements (PCAs) and the trade and economic cooperation agreements concluded between the Union and these countries. It is also based on the Community’s basic democratic clause. Thus when an essential element for the continuation of cooperation is missing, the Council may, on a proposal from the Commission and acting by qualified majority, decide upon appropriate measures.

Objectives

3. The programme aims to maximise its impact by concentrating on a limited number of significant initiatives, not precluding small-scale projects. To this end, indicative and action programmes are drawn up with the partners and cover three cross-cutting areas of cooperation at most. As far as cooperation is concerned, particular attention is paid to the following:

  • assistance for institutional, legal and administrative reform (development of the rule of law, support for effective policy-making, support for justice and home affairs activities, etc.);
  • support for the private sector and assistance for economic development (promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), development of the banking and financial systems, promotion of private entrepreneurship, etc.);
  • assistance in addressing the social consequences of transition (reform of the health, pension, social protection and insurance systems, assistance for social reconstruction and retraining, etc.);
  • development of infrastructure networks (transport networks, telecommunication networks, pipelines, border crossings, etc.);
  • better environmental protection and management of natural resources (alignment of standards on Community norms, sustainable management of natural resources, etc.);
  • development of the rural economy (land privatisation, improvement of distribution and access to markets).

4. Support for nuclear safety could be added to the three basic areas. It must focus on three main priorities:

  • support for the promotion of an effective nuclear safety culture;
  • the development of spent fuel and nuclear waste management strategies;
  • participation in relevant international initiatives.

5. The programme must take into account the diversity of needs and regional priorities together with the progress made in the partner states towards democracy and a market economy and their absorptive capacity. Special attention must also be paid to the need to reduce environmental risks and pollution, the sustainable use of natural and energy resources and the social aspects of the transition.

6. In addition, the programme aims to promote inter-state, inter-regional and cross-border cooperation between the partner states themselves, between partner states and the European Union and between partner states and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. This cross-border cooperation serves primarily to:

  • assist border regions in overcoming their specific developmental problems;
  • encourage the linking of networks on both sides of the border;
  • accelerate the transformation process in the partner states through their cooperation with border regions in the European Union and Central and Eastern Europe;
  • reduce transboundary environmental risks and pollution.

Measures supported

7. As a technical assistance programme, Tacis mainly supports the following measures:

  • transfer of knowledge, expertise and know-how: organising training, for example;
  • industrial cooperation and partnerships between public and private bodies, with possible secondment of European specialists;
  • technical assistance to accompany investment and investment financing, particularly in the areas of cross-border cooperation, promotion of SMEs, environmental infrastructure and networks;
  • purchases of supplies required in the implementation of technical assistance.

Financing

8. The financial reference amount for these six years is EUR 3 138 billion. Each year the budgetary authority decides on the annual appropriations within the limits of the Union’s financial perspective. EU assistance is in general provided in the form of grants.

9. The Regulation stipulates that 20% of the programme’s total budget may be allocated to investment financing that has a multiplier effect and is of interest to the Community (financing border infrastructure and environmental infrastructure, promoting SMEs, networks). In addition, this Community financing must accompany other investment.

10. Provision is also made for an incentive scheme to introduce an element of competition into the allocation of resources in order to promote quality (up to 20% of the total budget of the new programme). This scheme should be introduced gradually (initially 10% of the budget, which can then be gradually increased by up to 5% each year).

11. The Commission also encourages cofinancing with public and private organisations in the Member States.

Programming

12. Community assistance to the NIS is provided under national and regional multiannual programmes drawn up as a result of dialogue between the partner countries and the European Commission. These programmes comprise indicative programmes covering three to four year periods. They define the principal objectives of, and broad guidelines for, cooperation and include indicative financial estimates.

13. Annual or biannual action programmes based on the indicative programmes are then adopted. These include a detailed list of the projects to be financed in the chosen areas of cooperation. Finally, financial memoranda are agreed between the Commission and each partner country for the projects.

Procedures and management

14. The indicative and action programmes are adopted by the Commission in accordance with “management” procedure, following consultation of the Committee for assistance to the NIS and Mongolia composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by the Commission representative.

15. The Commission is responsible for administering actions and measures financed under this Regulation in accordance with the Financial Regulation of the European Community (EC) and in line with the principles of sound financial management, economy and cost-effectiveness.

16. The measures financed by Tacis are subject to the award of contracts through tendering procedures in accordance with the relevant provisions of the EC Financial Regulation. Thus, service contracts totalling over EUR 200 000 are awarded by international restricted invitations to tender. Contracts below this amount are concluded according to the procedure negotiated.

17. Participation in invitations to tender and contracts is open on equal terms to all natural and legal persons in the Member States, partner states, countries benefiting from the Phare programme and in some cases the EC’s partner countries in the Mediterranean.

18. In managing the implementation of this programme, effective coordination between the Commission and the Member States is essential, both at the programme definition and the programme implementation stage.

Monitoring and evaluation

19. Each year the Commission presents a progress report on the programme with an evaluation of the assistance provided and the effectiveness of the programme. These reports are addressed to all Community institutions. In the light of these reports, the Commission may make proposals to amend the Regulation. In addition, the Commission must provide statistical information on the award of the contracts.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 99/2000 21.01.2000 – 31.12.2006 OJ L 12 of 18.1.2000
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2112/2005 28.12.2005 OJ L 344 of 27.12.2005

Related Acts

Regulation (EC) No 1638/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 2006 laying down general provisions establishing a European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument [Official Journal L 310 of 9.11.2006].

 

Cross-border cooperation within the framework of the TACIS programme

Cross-border cooperation within the framework of the TACIS programme

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cross-border cooperation within the framework of the TACIS programme

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Eastern europe and central asia

Cross-border cooperation within the framework of the TACIS programme

The purpose of the Communication is to enhance cross-border cooperation to contribute to the stability of the European Union’s new neighbours. Sustainable projects that help solve specific problems in the border areas will be undertaken. Priority is given to institution building to enable local and regional authorities, the key players in this programme, to participate in the operations.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication on cross-border cooperation within the framework of the TACIS programme [COM(1997) 239 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

1. The enlarged European Union (EU)’s new borders with New Independent States (NIS) and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CCEEs) increase the need for stability in these areas. The European Commission therefore proposes cross-border cooperation operations under the Tacis programme to pave the way for sustainable socio-economic development.

2. This cooperation can also contribute to the pre-accession process for the CCEEs through additional financing of border-crossing management and infrastructure.

Objectives and instruments

3. The programme aims to support sustainable projects (transfer of know-how, development of cross-border contacts, financing of small infrastructures and joint enterprises) with a cross-border impact. Priority is given to projects in which local or regional involvement and systemic impact can be demonstrated.

4. The objectives are to contribute to:

  • improving the efficiency of border crossing and controls. The means for this are improving border-crossing procedures, setting up suitable infrastructure and improving border security through joint management programmes. The priorities are:
    – facilitating local movement across borders;
    – border crossing points between the EU, the CCEEs and the NIS;
  • helping border regions overcome specific development problems arising from their peripheral location. This is to be done by establishing links between border networks, cooperation and creating inter-community enterprises;
  • addressing cross-border environmental issues with studies and projects.

5. One prior condition of any operation is local and regional capacity.

Priorities

6. The priority is institution building to enable local and regional authorities to participate in the operations. This support will be accompanied by development of cross-border networks and border management. Priority is also given to projects that create direct links between border communities.

7. Local cooperative operations on a smaller scale with an appropriate amount of funding are also a priority. They will be financed under the Tacis mechanism for small projects.

Eligible Regions

8. The programme’s principle focus is on the borders between the NIS and the EU and between the NIS and the Baltic States. It also covers the borders separating Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldavia from the CCEEs.

Methodology

9. The procedures provide for intensive participation by local and regional authorities and a degree of flexibility. The selection criteria are based on cross-border impact, synergy with other Community programmes like Interreg and Phare, and absorption capacity.

10. Tacis cross-border cooperation must aim to harmonise its approach with that of Phare and Interreg and to simplify and clarify the Community financing system as much as possible. It must be based as far as possible on existing regional structures.

Role of local and regional authorities

11. Operations must be identified and prepared by the local and regional authorities as much as is possible. The national authorities have a role in approving the final programme and in projects of national interest such as border crossing points.

12. Information meetings are planned for the initial stages.

Background

13. Since the 1980s the EU has supported cross-border cooperation through the Structural Funds under the Interreg initiative and a similar Phare programme. In December 1994 the Essen European Council decided to draw up a regional and good neighbourhood plan to encourage multi-annual and multilateral cooperation in land and sea border regions between the EU and the CCEEs, CCEEs and CCEEs and CCEEs and the NIS. The areas covered were transport, public services, the environment, economic development, human resources and agriculture.

14. In 1995 the Pact on Stability in Europe was a further effort to bring an end to the threat of tension and crises and create an area of good neighbourliness and cooperation in Europe.

Related Acts

concerning the Tacis cross-border cooperation programme together with the Commission’s replies [Official Journal C 329 of 23.11.01].

 

Strategy for the eastern region 2007-2013

Strategy for the eastern region 2007-2013

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for the eastern region 2007-2013

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External relations > Eastern europe and central asia

Strategy for the eastern region 2007-2013

Document or Iniciative

European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument – Eastern Regional Programme – Strategy Paper 2007-2013 (pdf ).

Summary

The regional strategy paper (RSP) defines the objectives and priorities for regional cooperation on the basis of the European neighbourhood and partnership instrument (ENPI) for the period 2007-2013. In this respect, it supplements the country strategy papers (CSPs) established for each country in the region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia).

The RSP contributes to the achievement of the objectives of the European neighbourhood policy (ENP) with partner countries and of the Four Common Spaces with Russia, in addition to bilateral relations between the European Union (EU) and these countries. Within this context, regional cooperation concerns the challenges that are of common interest for all the countries and that have a cross-border nature.

Moreover, this regional support is justified by its added value or the need for joint intervention by several countries in order to solve cross-border issues. Thus, the willingness of the partner countries to cooperate on a regional basis and to embrace this cooperation is fundamental.

Regional cooperation in a number of sectors will also support further economic and regulatory integration with the EU.

Common challenges for partner countries

The Eastern Region groups a number of countries that share a common past but that are pursuing their own transition process. These countries are facing similar political, economic, social and environmental challenges.

The indicative programme (IP) for the period 2007-2010 (pdf ) covers a specific number of priorities set in consultation with partner countries. They have been chosen for their strategic importance, their comparative advantage and their complementarity at regional level, and also for their coherence with EU policies in this area.

Transport and energy, and in particular networks in these sectors, constitute an essential priority given that the countries in the region are both producer countries and transit countries. Assistance is based on experience acquired under the TRACECA and INOGATE programmes. It includes the following:

  • transport safety, in particular gradual approximation with EU standards, and also development of sustainable transport;
  • energy supply diversity and safety, and the promotion of renewable sources of energy;
  • development of links and networks between the EU and its neighbours in order to strengthen trade relations in particular.

Protection of the environment and forests and the fight against climate change are of critical importance for the IP. Air and water quality, waste management, the protection of nature and soils, and industrial pollution will be given special attention, as will pollution of the Baltic, Barents, Caspian and Black Seas. Increased awareness and involvement of civil society and the private sector are necessary to support efforts undertaken in this area.

Border and migration management, the fight against cross-border organised crime and customs at regional level will create economies of scale on account of their cross-border nature. Specifically, the EU supports measures against human trafficking, corruption and terrorism at national and international level.

Moreover, people-to people activities and information and support will benefit from assistance in order to stimulate cooperation between civil society and EU partner countries.

Finally, landmines, explosive remnants of war, small arms and light weapons constitute a serious threat for civilians and for the environment. As a consequence of former or “frozen” conflicts, many countries are confronted with the presence of anti-personnel landmines and other remnants of war. In addition, sustained assistance and clear action strategies are essential in this area.

Instruments and means

Several instruments and measures will support the achievement of these priorities. The ENPI is the main instrument and includes the following:

  • national allocations focused on the strategic priorities of beneficiary countries;
  • cross-border cooperation (CBC) and Neighbourhood and Partnership Programmes (NPP), which are intended to promote cross-border cooperation between beneficiary countries, the EU, candidate countries and potential candidate countries;
  • the Interregional Programme, whose activities will be implemented consistently in all neighbouring countries (TAIEX, Tempus, SIGMA, etc.);
  • thematic programmes under the new instruments such as democracy and human rights, migration and asylum, non-state actors and local authorities, environment and use of natural resources or even energy.

Moreover, other instruments will or can also be used.

  • the Democracy and Human Rights Instrument;
  • the Nuclear Safety Instrument supporting improvements in nuclear safety (power stations, waste management, etc.);
  • the Stability Instrument aimed at providing an effective response to existing or emerging crises or continued political instability (“frozen” conflicts).

At the same time, the use of interest-rate subsidies can leverage investments by various international financing institutions in the areas of the environment, energy and transport.

Background

In accordance with the objectives of its external policy, the EU promotes prosperity, solidarity, security and sustainable development throughout the world as well as democracy and human rights. The ENP launched after the fifth enlargement pursues these objectives while insisting on relations of good neighbourliness between the EU and its neighbours. For this, the ENPI, the ENP financial instrument for the period 2007-2013, supports ENP partner countries and Russia by integrating the regional and cross-border dimension and by pursuing the objectives identified by the previous Tacis programme.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 3 December 2008 – Eastern Partnership [COM(2008) 823 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission presents proposals aimed at strengthening the EU’s commitment to its eastern neighbours. This regional partnership should lead to the conclusion of association agreements. It should also support the acceleration of economic reforms, political dialogue and multilateralism, in particular through a comprehensive institution-building programme.

The deepening of bilateral relations should take place within the framework of:

  • the gradual establishing of a free trade area with the EU, supplemented progressively by free trade agreements between the partner countries;
  • cooperation on energy, considering the existing interdependent trade relations between the EU and its partners;
  • the introduction of “mobility and security pacts”, differentiated by country, outlining both a progressive liberalisation of the visa policy and an intensification of the fight against illegal immigration;
  • the development of economic and social policies at local, regional and cross-border levels.

The partnership should be based on a new multilateral framework. Implemented through four thematic platforms, it aims at developing cooperation and dialogue in the following areas:

  • democracy, the rule of law, good governance, stability and territorial integrity;
  • economic integration and regulatory convergence with the EU;
  • the environment;
  • the interconnection of transport and information networks;
  • energy security, in particular through warning mechanisms, the diversification of supply and transit routes;
  • culture and contacts between people.

Specific initiatives are also planned concerning good border management, small and medium enterprises, renewable energies and the response to natural or man-made disasters.

The Commission proposes an overall increase in the funding granted to eastern partners under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). It invites Member States to increase their direct contributions Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF).

This new initiative for eastern partnership should be launched at the “Eastern Partnership Meeting” in spring 2009.

Strategy for assistance to Central Asia 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010

Strategy for assistance to Central Asia 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for assistance to Central Asia 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010

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External relations > Eastern europe and central asia

Strategy for assistance to Central Asia 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010

Document or Iniciative

European Community Regional Strategy Paper for Assistance to Central Asia for the period 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010 (pdf ).

Summary

The regional strategy paper (RSP) defines the objectives and priorities of cooperation with Central Asia in areas of common interest to the partner countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan).

Despite their common experience, the countries display marked differences in their situation, territorial area, population, level of human development and willingness to cooperate and integrate with the rest of the world. On the other hand, the region shares political, economic, social and environmental challenges, such as:

  • trade and access to world markets, characterised by complex, badly coordinated trade policies, lack of transparency, high transport and transit costs and delays at border crossings for imports and exports;
  • the investment climate, with its continuing fluctuations reinforced by legislative uncertainty;
  • transport, which requires progressive, but effective integration in European and international agreements, the improvement of road and rail safety, maritime and aviation security, inland waterway transport and the introduction of inter-modal concepts;
  • the management of shared natural resources, especially water, but also the questions of climate change, deforestation, natural disasters and renewable energy resources;
  • social development and poverty reduction, as the region is characterised by highly unequal income distribution, high unemployment, low life expectancy and a resurgence of communicable diseases.

EU response strategy

The strategy for assistance and the indicative programme 2007-2010 identify three priority objectives selected by the European Union (EU) for the partnership in the next five years.

The EU’s first objective is to promote regional cooperation with Central Asia and good neighbourly relations. The EU will concentrate mainly on four objectives capable of providing real added value through implementation at regional level, i.e.:

  • support for transport and energy networks and integration with the international market to strengthen links and trade relations;
  • improvement of environmental management, which comprises sustainable management and good governance in the water and forestry sectors, biodiversity conservation and nature protection, especially in relation to climate change;
  • border and migration management, the fight against organised crime, and customs;
  • promotion of educational exchanges and scientific and people-to-people activities with the population of the region.

As far as bilateral assistance is concerned, poverty reduction and improving the standard of living are the top priority. This comes within the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The incidence of poverty is very high in the region and the inequalities in socio-economic development amplify instability, insecurity and extremism in these countries. This objective will focus on the development of the region and local communities, as well as support for rural development and social sector reforms.

The promotion of good governance and economic reforms is the second priority assistance area for this period. The Commission will focus on the promotion of good governance of civil society, the social dialogue and democratic processes, but also on reforms allowing better regulation of markets and trade. Support for political, administrative and judicial reforms ensure the stability of the countries of Central Asia. A specific programme is defined for each country, taking account of the national policies and individual situations.

The EU assistance is based on a series of instruments and measures, such as the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), including the 5 thematic programmes, the Instrument for Democratisation and Human Rights, the Nuclear Safety Instrument, the Stability Instrument and the Humanitarian Instrument.

Terms and conditions

The funding for the geopolitical indicative programme for Central Asia (DCI) for the period 2007-2010 will amount to EUR 314 million, of which EUR 94.2 million will be allocated to the promotion of regional cooperation with Central Asia and EUR 219.8 million to the other two priorities. The European Council will monitor progress made in implementing the strategy in June 2008 and then at least every two years.

The indicative programme 2007-2010 presents the expected results of the Community assistance regarding the various priorities presented above. As far as the regional programmes are concerned, it is a matter of improving energy and infrastructure management; increasing transport movements (number and quality) and harmonising maritime, rail and road transport; raising awareness of environmental issues and cooperation of civil society in this field; improving efficiency and safety at border crossings and harmonising the procedures; and extending and modernising the local and regional infrastructures, as well as improving access to services for the population and bringing laws and practices in line with international standards, including in the field of human rights.

Performance indicators defined at the time of drawing up the programmes will allow their impact to be measured (progress achieved with regard to human rights and in the other above-mentioned areas, relevance of the activities, statistics on the trend in poverty and notably the Millennium Goals, implementation reports, etc.).

Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007

Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007

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External relations > Eastern europe and central asia

Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Parliament and the Council of 3.4.2008 – Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007 [COM(2008) 0164 Final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication gives a strategic review of the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2007. It assesses relations between the EU and its partners covered by the ENP, as well as the political and economic reforms carried out by these countries.

Deepening relations

Partnership and Cooperation Agreements

 (DE ES EN FR) have been concluded with neighbouring countries in the East, with the exception of Belarus, which will have the opportunity to become a full partner in the EU under the framework of the ENP provided that it engages in extensive democratic and economic reforms which would bring it in line with common European values.

Relations with Ukraine have intensified beyond the 1998 PCA and the EU-Ukraine Action Plan. The negotiation of a new Association Agreement began in 2007. It will establish a more ambitious framework, facilitate the deepening of EU-Ukraine relations in all areas, strengthen political association and economic integration between Ukraine and the European Union, as well as create a deep free trade area with the European Union.

Association Agreements have been concluded with neighbouring countries in the South under the framework of the Barcelona Process. With the exception of Syria, with whom relations are now governed by a cooperation agreement, and Libya, for whom the Council has adopted negotiating directives proposed by the Commission with a view to a future framework agreement.

Eight countries have concluded ENP Action Plans including Lebanon and Egypt in 2007. They provide a structure for implementing national reforms and strengthening bilateral cooperation with the EU. Community financial assistance is based on priorities detailed in the Action Plans. These targeted and differentiated instruments are adapted to the capacity and needs of each country. Thus cooperation relations with Israel, Morocco, Moldova and Ukraine were particularly intensified in 2007.

Progress of the reform programmes

Cooperation in terms of dialogue and political reform has been carried out in the East through progressive approximation to fundamental Community standards and in the South through integrating the values of the Barcelona Process. In particular, the measures undertaken related to democratic governance, the independence of the judiciary, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the management of migratory flows.

An open political dialogue between the EU and all partner countries should also enable progress to be made in resolving regional conflicts.

Regarding macroeconomic developments, most ENP partner countries registered high economic growth in 2007. At the same time, they have been contending with high rates of unemployment, particularly among the young in the Mediterranean ENP countries. The major challenges remain: reducing inflation and trade deficits, improving economic governance, reducing unemployment and improving working conditions. In August 2008, the Commission published an Economic Review of EU Neighbour Countries in 2007 (EN ).

Through sectoral reforms partners have made progress towards modernising their societies and towards integrating into the European market. The capacity of States to implement reforms in the long term is assessed annually in a sectoral progress report (EN ). Dialogue maintained with the EU regarding sectoral reforms aims to improve institutional functions and develop a citizen-oriented administration.

National progress reports are produced each year. They enable progress to be assessed and the identification of areas where cooperation needs to be increased. As such, future reforms must improve trade and economic integration, mobility and address regional conflicts.

Regional cooperation processes

Strengthening the regional dimension of the ENP is carried out as part of existing processes.

Through the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, “Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean” launched on 13 July 2008 in Paris, a regional dialogue has been undertaken regarding:

  • political cooperation, security and defence;
  • democracy and the role of civil society;
  • economics and financial cooperation, particularly regarding the creation of a free trade area;
  • the environment, energy, services and the right of establishment;
  • social, human and cultural cooperation, particularly regarding education, the information society and similar issues.

The EU-Africa strategic partnership and its first Action Plan are an essential contribution to the sectoral dialogue and deepening of relations with African partners.

The Black Sea Synergy complements multilaterally the existing relations with the Russian Federation, Turkey and the Eastern ENP partners (except Belarus). A report on the first year of the implementation of the Black Sea Synergy was adopted in June 2008.

Next phase

The second generation ENP Action Plans, which will be better adapted to the objectives and capacities of each of the partners, should lead progressively towards regulatory convergence with European standards.

Increased visibility of the reforms and raising citizens’ awareness of the measures taken will also contribute to the success of the cooperation.

Context

Since its implementation began, the ENP has contributed to the prosperity, stability and security of the EU’s borders. The success of this policy demonstrates the benefits of adapting cooperation to the different needs of partner countries.

Neighbourhood Policy: 2008 Report

Neighbourhood Policy: 2008 Report

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Neighbourhood Policy: 2008 Report

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External relations > Eastern europe and central asia

Neighbourhood Policy: 2008 Report

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 23 April 2009 – Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2008 [COM(2009) 188 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In 2008, relations between the European Union (EU) and countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) intensified. Progress in bilateral and multilateral cooperation demonstrates an increased interdependence between partners as well as the necessity of continuing to strengthen the ENP.

The main progress accomplished by the partner countries concerns trade agreements, the strengthening of political cooperation, public finance and customs duty, competition policy, the business environment and the fight against corruption. More efforts should be made to achieve democratic reforms and promote human rights.

However, 2008 was marked by an economic climate which was unfavourable to reforms. Several events destabilised the neighbourhood area: the conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, the disruption of gas supplies between Ukraine and Russia, and the Israeli intervention in Gaza in December 2008/January 2009. The global financial crisis also affected all ENP partner countries.


Regional cooperation

The EU and its partners adopted new cooperation frameworks aimed at increasing the regional strand of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

The Union for the Mediterranean, launched at the Paris summit in July 2008, gives new impetus to Euro-Mediterranean relations. It should in particular lead to better sharing of responsibilities between partners and increase the visibility of their actions. Regional projects should be conducted in the following areas: the fight against maritime pollution, against natural and man-made disasters, the development of maritime and land links, renewable energies, and enterprises. The Euro-Mediterranean University was inaugurated in 2008 in Slovenia.

Following the Kiev meeting in 2008, the Black Sea Synergy entered its operational phase. Projects with a regional dimension should be launched in the fields of energy, transport, communications, trade, the environment, maritime policy, fisheries, migration, law enforcement and the fight against organised crime. Discussions are under way to move forward on the de-pollution of the Black Sea, maritime links and security, as well as the creation of a Common Aviation Area.

In 2008 the Commission proposed to establish an Eastern Partnership, in order to intensify its relations with Central European and South Caucasus countries. This framework should advance political and democratic reforms, the economic integration of the region, energy security and mobility.

Impact of the global financial crisis

The ENP contributes to strengthening trade links between the EU and its neighbours, and to pursuing their regional economic integration. The impact of the financial crisis has been different in the Southern and Eastern regions:

  • Eastern partners have been the most affected due to the reduced contribution of foreign capital that is indispensable for their growth, the vulnerability of their banking sector and the drop in export prices in some key sectors (metal, agriculture, trade);
  • Mediterranean partners were less affected by the credit crisis. Their economies were protected by low rates of debt, few needs for foreign capital, and the low regional integration of their financial sector.

Regarding economic sectors, tourism, construction and export industries are likely to be seriously affected given the fall in demand, particularly European demand, and increased competition from lower-wage countries. The crisis is likely to cause a reduction in investments, and an increase in youth unemployment and migratory flows.

Recommendations

In the current context, and in view of the necessity to make progress towards a liberalisation of trade, the ENP should:

  • hold regular dialogues, in order to meet the socio-economic needs of the most vulnerable countries and support their sustainable development.
  • increase macro-economic aid, by granting European loans which are coordinated with International Monetary Fund (IMF) stand-by arrangements;
  • strengthen the regulatory environment of the financial sector and the supervision of its activities, by widening the scope of existing technical assistance programmes;
  • encourage the EIB and EBRD to accelerate their lending operations;
  • support trade and investment, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The 2011-2013 programming of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) should take these priorities into account.

Taking stock of the European Neighbourhood Policy

Taking stock of the European Neighbourhood Policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Taking stock of the European Neighbourhood Policy

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External relations > Eastern europe and central asia

Taking stock of the European Neighbourhood Policy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 12 May 2010 – Taking stock of the European Neighbourhood Policy [COM(2010) 207 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication takes stock of progress made since the launch of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). This analysis is intended to guide developments in the policy in the years to come.

All of the ENP partners have taken advantage of the cooperation established. However, not all of them have implemented the necessary policies and legislation. Progress remains to be made in many sectors, including democratic governance.

Strengthening of bilateral relations from 2004 to 2009

Most Mediterranean partners have concluded Association Agreements (AAs) to strengthen their relations with the EU. Similarly, the AAs are gradually replacing the old partnership and cooperation agreements concluded with the eastern neighbours.

Progress in the area of good governance remains insufficient. Delays have also been reported in relation to human rights and the operation of judicial and electoral systems.

The Treaty of Lisbon should help the EU to contribute better to the resolution of protracted conflicts. The EU conducts civilian peace-making missions, relying in particular on the increase in cultural exchanges and trade.

Legal and regular mobility of persons should be encouraged while ensuring tighter control on those who could exploit mobility for criminal purposes. In this context, the EU has taken steps to simplify visa procedures with a view to the total liberalisation of short stay visa regimes.

The progressive establishment of Free Trade Areas (FTAs) involves continuing the alignment of the partners’ legislation with that of the EU, facilitating the trading of goods and services, and encouraging the establishment of companies and direct foreign investment. The setting up of FTAs should also be accompanied by a strengthening of social, consumer and environmental protection.

The EU and its partners should strengthen their cooperation in order to face the common challenges in the field of the environment. Improved environmental governance, higher resource efficiency and appropriate use of ecosystem services are the elements of long-term sustainable development.

Climate change should be taken into account in all of the policies concerned. Efforts should be made to increase energy efficiency, to promote sustainable transport, and to adapt certain sectors to changes in climate conditions (agriculture, water, natural hazards, etc.).

The EU intends to ensure energy efficiency and stable supplies to its territory. To this end, it encourages the use of renewable energies and, in particular, has signed Energy Memoranda of Understanding with a number of eastern countries. In the Mediterranean region, the priorities concern the development of regional interconnections and the use of solar energy.

Reorientation of financial instruments

The financing of the ENP is based on the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). Since the mid-term review of the programming documents, country allocations have been better adapted to the needs, the levels of ambition and progress and the absorption capacity of partners.

The external mandate of the European Investment Bank (EIB) has been the subject of a mid-term review for the period 2007-2013. The Commission has also proposed to allocate an additional EUR 2 billion to support investments related to climate change, of which up to EUR 1 billion could be used in neighbouring countries.

Progress in multilateral relations

The Union for the Mediterranean is a new political framework which aims to strengthen the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Progress has already been made, despite a political context rendered more complex by the Gaza conflict. Northern African countries have also benefited from the cooperation activities carried out in the context of the Africa-EU Partnership.

The Eastern Partnership was launched in May 2009, to establish a political association and to further economic integration between the EU and its eastern partners. This partnership is based mainly on bilateral relations between the EU and each of its partners. It also comprises a multilateral track aiming to promote cooperation, political dialogue and the exchange of experience and best practice.

Finally, the
Black Sea Synergy
has also helped to encourage regional cooperation. A first sectoral partnership has been launched in the area of the environment.

New neighbourhood policy strategy

New neighbourhood policy strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about New neighbourhood policy strategy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Eastern europe and central asia

New neighbourhood policy strategy

Document or Iniciative

Joint Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 25 May 2011 – A new response to a changing Neighbourhood [COM(2011) 303 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

By presenting a new strategy for the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the Commission intends to improve its support for the processes of reform undertaken by its partner countries.

This new approach is based on greater differentiation by country of the cooperation objectives. Therefore, the action plans for each country that set the priorities for the short and medium term must be more targeted and more flexible in order to be able to be adapted to new financial priorities if necessary.

The strategy also aims to:

  • increase the conditionality of financial assistance, which can be increased or restricted depending on the progress made concerning democracy and human rights;
  • support inclusive economic development, which promotes trade, investment, sustainable development, and reducing unemployment;
  • strengthen regional synergies between the partners, within the Eastern Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean, particularly in the areas of trade, energy, transport, migration and mobility.

Supporting democracy

The strategy creates new instruments for promoting democracy and human rights:

  • a European Endowment for Democracy aimed at democratic political parties representing a broad spectrum of views, non-governmental organisations and social partners;
  • a Civil Society Facility, which is essential in any democratic society.

Establishing deep and sustainable democracies also requires stronger partnership on matters of political cooperation and security. The partners must conduct a more continuous political dialogue at a bilateral level and within regional bodies. Their joint action must be strengthened at international level.

Promoting sustainable and inclusive growth

The partner countries are encouraged to adopt policies which promote economic growth, the business environment and investment, and reduce the differences in development between regions.

Economic growth should lead to higher levels of employment and social inclusion. The ENP therefore provides for political dialogue for macroeconomic reforms, employment and social affairs. The Commission also suggests that agricultural and rural development projects are launched to combat poverty.

Lastly, the creation of Free Trade Areas should be encouraged to strengthen trade ties between the partners, and regional integration. The European Union (EU) is the main import and export market for the ENP partners. In this context, those countries not wishing to embark on free trade negotiations can benefit from trade concessions and mutual acceptance agreements on the conformity of industrial products.

Enhancing cooperation

Certain areas of sector cooperation must be enhanced, in particular for:

  • knowledge, research and innovation, including through student and academic staff mobility;
  • partner participation in EU programmes and the work of EU agencies.

Similar enhanced cooperation is also planned to improve energy security, environmental protection, transport, communication technologies, and tackling climate change.

Partners whose reforms are the most advanced can begin a process of visa facilitation.

Financing

This new strategy is presented in the last programming phase of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). Its resources need to be increased and oriented towards new priorities.

The financial resources of the ENP can be diversified by having recourse to other European thematic instruments and crisis intervention mechanisms.

In addition, the options for financing through loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) must be increased. These banks must be able to act jointly, including for the financing of development operations of large infrastructure and connectivity projects.

Partnership and Cooperation Agreements : Russia, Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia

Partnership and Cooperation Agreements : Russia, Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Partnership and Cooperation Agreements : Russia, Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Eastern europe and central asia

Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs): Russia, Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia

Acts

Council and Commission Decisions 99/602/EC, 99/614/EC, 99/515/EC, 99/490/EC, 99/491/EC, 98/401/EC, 97/800/EC, 98/149/EC, 99/593/EC, 2009/989/EC on the conclusion of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan of the other part, respectively.

Summary

Since the end of the 1990s, the European Union (EU) concluded ten similar partnership and cooperation agreements (PCAs) with: Russia and the New Independent States of Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

The aims of these partnerships are to:

  • provide a suitable framework for political dialogue;
  • to support the efforts made by the countries to strengthen their democracies and develop their economies;
  • accompany their transition to a market economy;
  • encourage trade and investment.

The partnerships also aim to provide a basis for cooperation in the legislative, economic, social, financial, scientific, civil, technological and cultural fields. The PCA with Russia also provides for the creation of the necessary conditions for the future establishment of a free trade area.

Joint PCA objectives

The general principles concern respect for democracy, the principles of international law and human rights. The market economy is also an objective set out in all the PCAs.

The PCAs establish a bilateral political dialogue between the European Union (EU). They aim to encourage the convergence of their positions on international issues of mutual concern, to cooperate for stability, security and respect for democracy and human rights. The dialogue will take place at ministerial level within the Cooperation Council, at parliamentary level within the Parliamentary Committee and at senior civil servant level. Diplomatic channels and meetings of experts will also be part of the political dialogue process.

With regard to trade in goods, the EU and the ten countries referred to will accord to one another Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment. They will also set up free transit of goods via or through their territory. For goods admitted temporarily, each party grants the other party exemption from import duties and taxes. Quantitative restrictions on imports may no longer apply between the parties and goods must be traded at their market price. In the event of injury or threat of injury caused by imports, the Cooperation Council must seek a solution acceptable to both parties. In the case of a party from the African, Caribbean and Pacific States, certain textile products and nuclear material are not affected by these provisions. However, they do apply to coal and steel.

The conditions concerning employment, the setting-up of a business and the activities/operation of companies, the cross-border supply of services, current payments and capital are to be found in the provisions on trade and investment. As regards employment, the parties undertake to prevent discrimination against nationals from one of the parties who are lawfully employed in another. The PCA with Russia sets out initiatives to coordinate social security.

With regard to companies, the agreements provide that:

  • the setting up of companies on EU territory must be carried out under conditions which are no less favourable than those in other third countries;
  • companies operating on EU territory must be able to enjoy treatment no less favourable than that accorded to EU companies;
  • branches must operate under the same conditions as branches of third countries;
  • European companies which locate in an NIS (New Independent State of the former Soviet Union) must do so under conditions of establishment and operation which are no less favourable than those of companies which receive the best treatment, be they domestic or third-country companies.

These conditions do not apply to air, inland waterway and maritime transport. For Russia, they also apply to certain banking and insurance services listed in Annex 6 to its PCA.

The parties undertake to take the necessary measures to progressively authorise the cross-border supply of services. For Russia, certain sectors listed in the annexes may be regulated domestically. With regard to international maritime transport, the parties must apply effectively the principle of unrestricted access to the market and trade on a commercial basis.

With regard to current payments and capital, the parties undertake to authorise all current payments which are connected to the movement of goods, services or persons. The free movement of capital must also be guaranteed for direct investment and the liquidation or repatriation of these investments and of any profit stemming therefrom.

All the PCAs except that with the Republic of Moldova also contain a chapter on the protection of intellectual, industrial and commercial property and on legislative cooperation.

As regards economic cooperation, most PCAs cover similar fields. They focus on social and economic development, the development of human resources, support to businesses (in particular privatisation, investment and development of financial services), agriculture and the food sector, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, regional cooperation and monetary policy. In essence, economic cooperation is aimed at contributing to the economic reform and rehabilitation process and to sustainable development in the NIS. The PCAs encourage social and economic reforms and the restructuring of economic and trading systems.

Specific PCA objectives

Other areas of cooperation listed in the PCAs are:

  • cooperation in the areas of democracy and human rights (only for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan);
  • cooperation on the prevention of illegal activities and the prevention and control of illegal immigration, with initiatives on money laundering, the fight against drugs and illegal immigration (except for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Moldova);
  • cultural cooperation;
  • financial cooperation in the field of technical assistance.

Institutional provisions

The agreements establish a Cooperation Council responsible for supervising the implementation of the PCAs. It meets at ministerial level once a year. The Council is assisted by a Parliamentary Cooperation Committee.

The PCAs are concluded for an initial period of ten years but are automatically renewed on a yearly basis unless one of the parties objects.

17 Each PCA contains a series of annexes and a protocol on mutual assistance between authorities on customs matters, which form an integral part of the text.

Neighbourhood Policy

In 2003 the EU launched its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) to prevent the emergence of any new fault lines between itself and its neighbours after the 2004 enlargement. The ENP is designed to promote close relations between the EU and its partners with a view to establishing an area of stability, prosperity and security. Together with the partner countries in the Mediterranean, the countries of Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, are the core partner countries in the ENP. The PCAs set the framework within which the ENP is implemented in conjunction with each of the partner countries in Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 99/602/EC of 31 May 1999, Republic of Armenia

1.7.1999

OJ L 239 of 9.9.1999

Decision 99/614/EC of 31 May 1999, Republic of Azerbaijan

1.7.1999

OJ L 246 of 17.9.1999

Decision 99/515/EC of 31 May 1999, Georgia

1.7.1999

OJ L 205 of 4.8.1999

Decision 99/490/EC of 12 May 1999, Republic of Kazakhstan

1.7.1999

OJ L 196 of 28.7.1999

Decision 99/491/EC of 12 May 1999, Kyrgyz Republic

1.7.1999

OJ L 196 of 28.7.1999

Decision 98/401/EC of 28 May 1998, Republic of Moldova

1.7.1998

OJ L 181 of 24.6.1998

Decision 97/800/EC of 30 October 1997, Russian Federation

1.12.1997

OJ L 327 of 28.11.1997

Decision 98/149/EC of 26 January 1998, Ukraine

1.3.1998

OJ L 049 of 19.2.1998

Decision 99/593/EC of 31 May 1999, Republic of Uzbekistan

1.7.1999

OJ L 229 of 31.8.1999

Decision 2009/989/EC of 29 January 2009, Tajikistan

1.1.2010

OJ L 350 of 29.12.2009

Related Acts

All the agreements concluded between the EU and the countries of Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia and Russia may be consulted in the European Commission’s treaty database.

Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion by the European Community of the interim agreement between the European Community, the European Coal and Steel Community and the European – Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and Turkmenistan, of the other part, on trade and trade-related matters [COM(2009) 287 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

PREVIOUS DOCUMENTS

Communication from the Commission of 10 October 1995 – Towards a European Union strategy for relations with the Independent States of Central Asia [COM(1995) 206 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – Prospects for cooperation in science and technology with the New Independent States (NIS) [COM(1995) 190 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Eastern europe and central asia

Eastern europe and central asia

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Eastern europe and central asia

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Eastern europe and central asia

Eastern europe and central asia

GENERAL FRAMEWORK

Framework for relations

  • Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs): Russia, Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia
  • Strategy for assistance to Central Asia 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010
  • Black Sea Synergy
  • Readmission agreements with Eastern European countries

Russia

  • Stratégie pour la Russie 2007-2013
    (FR)
  • EU-Russia environmental cooperation
  • Agreement on readmission with Russia
  • Facilitating the issuance of short-stay visas with Russia
  • Transit Kaliningrad – Russian mainland: proposals and implementation

European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)

  • New neighbourhood policy strategy
  • Taking stock of the European Neighbourhood Policy
  • Neighbourhood policy: participation in European Union Agencies and programmes
  • Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper
  • Neighbourhood Policy: 2008 Report
  • Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007
  • European Neighbourhood Policy: recommendations for Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia and for Egypt and Lebanon

FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

2007 – 2013

  • European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (2007 – 2013)
  • Strategy for the eastern region 2007-2013
  • Cross-border cooperation (CBC) 2007-2013
  • Inter-regional programme: Strategy paper 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010
  • Financing instrument for development cooperation – DCI (2007-2013)

2000 – 2006

  • Tacis programme (2000-2006)
  • Cross-border cooperation within the framework of the TACIS programme

SECTORAL COOPERATION

  • European Energy Charter
  • Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety
  • Combating HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries (2009-2013)
  • European Training Foundation (ETF)
  • Action on HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries 2006 – 2009
  • Multilateral Environment for Europe process