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

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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


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


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.


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.


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


OJ L 239 of 9.9.1999

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


OJ L 246 of 17.9.1999

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


OJ L 205 of 4.8.1999

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


OJ L 196 of 28.7.1999

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


OJ L 196 of 28.7.1999

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


OJ L 181 of 24.6.1998

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


OJ L 327 of 28.11.1997

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


OJ L 049 of 19.2.1998

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


OJ L 229 of 31.8.1999

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


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].


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]

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