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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]

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

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

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.).

Multilateral Environment for Europe process

Multilateral Environment for Europe process

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Multilateral Environment for Europe process

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

Multilateral Environment for Europe process

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 21 May 2007 – Commission Cooperation with the Environment for Europe Process after the 2007 Ministerial Conference in Belgrade [COM(2007) 262 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Environment for Europe process is an informal multilateral framework created in 1991 and overseen by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to promote environmental protection in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

The European landscape has changed since the creation of this multilateral process, in particular through the enlargement of the EU to the east which integrated most of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe targeted by this process and thereby made them subject to the Community environment acquis. In addition, relations between the EU and UNECE countries have also been taken into account in the European Neighbourhood Policy and the development of bilateral relations (for example with Russia and the Ukraine) or regional relations (Black Sea region).

The main success stories of the Environment for Europe process include holding multilateral forums, its contribution to the drafting of pan-European reports evaluating the state of the environment, as well as the environmental strategy for the countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan) which aims to find solutions to environmental problems shared by these countries.

However, the Commission notes that the process has encountered some problems, such as difficulties for countries of the former Soviet Union which have not joined the EU to make progress in environmental matters (due mainly to internal political and financial constraints). The Commission also underlines the difficulties linked to the range of subjects dealt with at ministerial conferences and the fact that the role of the Environment for Europe process has progressively decreased as other cooperation frameworks and initiatives have developed.

At the ministerial meeting in Kiev in 2003 the parties decided from then on to focus the process more on countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. They also rearranged the activities of the various working groups to make better use of available resources. Three trends emerged at this meeting, namely the progressive expansion of the EU towards the east (27 of the 56 members of UNECE are now in the EU and another three are EU candidates); the diversity of the countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and the difficulty in seeing them as a unified region; and the decrease in donations to countries such as Russia and Kazakhstan following their rapid economic growth since the end of the 1990s.

The Commission is of the opinion that, following the meeting to be held in Belgrade in October 2007, the central role of the UNECE should be to facilitate the implementation of the UN’s conventions in the region and to continue in its role of coordinating environmental activities in the countries covered by the Environment for Europe process and helping to evaluate these countries’ environmental performance.

In turn the Commission will concentrate in particular on helping to implement the existing UNECE environmental conventions, contributing to UNECE environmental performance reviews, supporting Regional Environmental Centres, participating in selected sub-regional initiatives and improving the water sector in the region.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 4 December 2006 on

strengthening the European Neighbourhood Policy

[COM(2006) 726 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 17 December 2001 – EU-

Russia

Environmental Cooperation [COM(2001) 772 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 6 February 2003 –

Pan-European Environmental Cooperation

after the 2003 Kiev Conference [COM(2003) 62 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Decision of 15 October 1996 on the conclusion, on behalf of the Community, of the Convention on environmental impact assessment in a transboundary context (Espoo Convention).

The Espoo Convention, signed on 26 February 1991, aims to set out the obligations of Parties to assess the environmental impact of certain activities at an early stage of planning and imposes on States the general obligation regarding notification and consultation on all major projects that are likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact across borders. This Convention covers the UNECE countries.