Tag Archives: Neighbourhood Policy

Governance in the consensus on development

Governance in the consensus on development

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Governance in the consensus on development

Topics

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

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Governance in the consensus on development

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 30 August 2006 – Governance in the European consensus on development – Towards a harmonised approach within the European Union [COM(2006) 421 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Within the framework of the European consensus on development, which stressed the importance of integrating the concept of democratic governance into every sectoral programme, the Commission is proposing to the European Union (EU) a common approach to governance.

New approach

The Commission underlines the importance of approaching governance from a wider angle, taking into account all its dimensions (political, economic, environmental and social). Good governance means more than tackling corruption; it includes such things as access to health, education and justice, pluralism in the media, the functioning of parliament and the management of public accounts and natural resources.

In order to encourage developing countries to step up their efforts to reform, the approach proposed by the Commission is based on political dialogue, respect for the undertaking of reform by governments and the citizens of partner countries, and incentives. The identification of reforms and support measures that are suitable for each country requires an evaluation of governance in the country concerned. This evaluation is carried out using a participatory approach that encourages local players (such as the government and civil society) to develop their own analytical tools and skills.

Assuming that conditions for suitable democratic control, financial management and institutional development have been created, budgetary assistance helps to strengthen governance and institutions at central and local level. The Commission underlines its increased use and the fact that this makes it possible to tackle the problems of lack of political legitimacy and the capacities which characterise several developing countries, fragile States in particular.

The effectiveness of this new approach is dependent on the capacity of donors to act in a coordinated and harmonised manner, with respect to governance analysis tools and response strategies in particular. Within this context, Member States and the Commission have made progress towards common programming and have drawn up a code of conduct on complementarity and the division of labour.

African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries

Governance is already included in the regular political dialogue with ACP countries, and support for this will be stepped up. When the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) was being programmed, the sum of €870 million (or 10% of all programmable funding) was granted for projects in this field. In addition, under the 10th EDF €3 billion will be set aside for incentives, divided between national funding (2.7 billion) and a regional fund (300 million). Country access to this reserve is dependent on the outcome of a dialogue with the Commission concerning its own governance plan. In this context, a governance profile will be created for each country.

Moreover, governance will be integrated as a cross-cutting theme in all sectors of cooperation. This will be accompanied by the creation of new ways of taking into account the new provisions of the Cotonou agreement and the regional strategies adopted for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

In Africa, governance has also been mainstreamed in dialogue and cooperation between the Pan-African institutions and the EU. The Commission is proposing increased support for the institutions of the African Union and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

Other developing countries

The EU supports the promotion of democracy, human rights and good governance in all other developing countries, according to strategies based on the specific features of each region.

In cooperation with countries covered by the neighbourhood policy, priority areas for financial assistance from the EU are selected on the basis of action plans focused on governance and adopted jointly with the countries concerned. Progress made in the various areas of governance is regularly monitored. Moreover, governance is supported by cooperation mechanisms such as twinning, TAIEX and the SIGMA initiative, which were originally developed for the purposes of enlargement. Additional support for the promotion of political and economic reforms in these countries is now offered by the new “Governance” facility.

In a 2005 Communication, the Commission undertook to support governance in Latin America. It therefore intends to continue to support the modernisation of government in the region, using an approach tailored to the needs of individual countries, which vary according to their stability. The Commission will continue, moreover, to support regional integration which, since it involves establishing and complying with common rules, is a powerful vector for good governance in economic and trade matters.

In Asia, the EU will continue its dialogue with China and India. Political dialogue at regional and bilateral levels with the countries of in central Asia is bolstered by the presence of a special rapporteur on democratic governance. Moreover, governance features in the cooperation with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and in the informal dialogues of the Asia-Europe meetings (ASEM). In the programming for the period 2007-2013, governance is a cross-cutting issue in all cooperation activities in the countries of the region and also a focal sector in the cooperation with several of them.

Associated Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 20 October 2003: Governance and development [COM(2003) 615 final- Not published in the Official Journal].

Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper

Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper

Topics

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

External relations > Mediterranean partner countries

Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 12 May 2004, entitled “European Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper” [COM(2004) 373 – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

This is the follow-up to two previous communications in 2003 on “A New Framework for Relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours” and on a “New Neighbourhood Instrument”. Its aim is to map out the next steps in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).

Principles and scope

According to the Commission, the ENP should have a comprehensive, coherent and effective approach. By giving new impetus to cooperation with the new neighbours, it will strengthen stability, security and well-being in the region.

Regarding its geographical coverage, the Commission recommends the inclusion of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia within the scope of ENP. It also proposes, as in the March 2003 communication on a wider Europe, some conditions to be met for fuller integration of Belarus in the ENP. In the present circumstances, the EU’s commitments to Belarus will focus on democratic development and support for civil society. The Commission also recommends looking into how Libya could be incorporated into the ENP, but states that integration into the Barcelona process is the first step.

Joint ownership of the process, differentiation between partners and better use of existing instruments are other key points for the Commission. In its opinion, the ENP brings added value through its enhanced and more focused policy approach, the opportunity it creates to attain a significant degree of integration, the encouragement it offers to instigate reform, the incentive to resolve bilateral problems, its clearly defined priorities, its increase in funding and its assistance to partners.

Action plans

The priorities in the bilateral action plans concluded with each partner will fall into two broad areas: firstly, shared values and foreign and security policy, secondly actions which will bring partner countries closer in a number of priority fields, e.g. economic and social development, trade and the internal market, justice and home affairs, and connections and contacts. The bodies set up under the various agreements will be responsible for monitoring and the Commission will draw up periodic reports to review and adapt the action plans.

Fundamental human rights and freedoms lie behind this policy which is intended to promote a commitment to shared values. Political dialogue will be strengthened through the ENP in the sectors identified in the action plans, with effective multilateralism as the constant goal.

The policy also envisages enhanced preferential trade relations and increased financial and technical assistance, offering the prospect of a stake in the EU internal market. Dialogue and cooperation on the social dimension also need to be enhanced. Issues related to the movement of workers will also continue to be addressed within the framework of the various agreements.

Trade and the internal market are another chapter of major significance. Legislative and regulatory approximation must be pursued and the ENP will provide ways and means to deepen trade liberalisation and regional integration. Regarding trade in goods, administrative cooperation needs to be improved with a view to the gradual elimination of non-tariff barriers. For agricultural products, convergence on sanitary and phytosanitary controls is essential. Lastly, legislative approximation is required in the area of free trade in services. Likewise, the investment climate must be improved, independent competition authorities set up and the tax system modernised and made more transparent.

The functioning of public institutions needs to be improved in order to deal with challenges in the field of justice and home affairs, such as migration pressure, trafficking in human beings and terrorism.

Another key aspect of the ENP is “connecting the neighbourhood”. The Commission recommends improving and strengthening energy and transport network connections. The environment, information society and research and innovation are other sectors requiring action for their improvement. The connections do not just need to be physical, but between persons too. Cultural, educational and social links should also be encouraged.

Regional cooperation

The ENP will be differentiated in its application. To the East, the priorities are:

  • reinforced cooperation on the economy, business, employment and social policy, trade and infrastructure;
  • environment, nuclear safety and natural resources;
  • justice and home affairs;
  • people-to-people issues.

In the Mediterranean region, regional and sub-regional cooperation must build on the ‘acquis‘ of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. At regional level, the strategic priorities are:

  • South-South integration;
  • sub-regional cooperation;
  • harmonisation of the regulatory and legislative environment.

The priorities for cooperation in this region are:

  • infrastructure interconnections;
  • environment;
  • justice and home affairs;
  • trade, regulatory convergence and socio-economic development.

Supporting the ENP

Substantial financial support is already channelled through the instruments of the ENP, amounting to a total of roughly EUR 3 700 million between 2000 and 2003. Over the same period, the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) allocated approximately EUR 60 million, while the European Investment Bank provided loans to the Mediterranean countries totalling about EUR 3 400 million. Lastly, macrofinancial assistance and humanitarian aid were provided to third countries facing exceptional needs.

The Commission has proposed to introduce a new set of harmonised instruments for assistance to third countries, including those presently covered by Tacis and MEDA. A recent communication recently also envisaged the possibility of a new neighbourhood instrument. In view of the number of legal and budgetary questions to be resolved, a two-phase approach will be used and the new instrument will not be introduced until 2006. Starting from 2007, it will support cross-border cooperation as well as regional cooperation projects involving all the partner countries. EIB lending capacity will also be reinforced.

Of the three alternatives presented in the July 2003 communication, the strategy paper concludes that the one that best responds to needs is the option of creating a single new regulation to govern a Neighbourhood Instrument to fund activities both inside and outside the Union. In addition, the Commission proposes to use a single budget chapter, drawing on the cohesion and external policies headings for the full amount of the instrument.

In the Commission’s view, Article 181a TEC would be the appropriate legal basis. As this article concerns cooperation with third countries, it should allow funding of joint actions. The instrument will build on the principles of existing cross-border programmes such as partnership, multi-annual programming and co-financing. It will cover all borders, support trans-national cooperation involving beneficiaries in at least one Member State and one partner country and replace existing internal and external cross-border programmes.

The new instrument will operate through two separate funding windows. Window One will support cross-border cooperation, with programmes that are primarily bilateral. Window Two will provide more flexible support for wider trans-national cooperation with cooperation mostly focussed on specific themes, e.g. the environment, integration into energy, telecommunication and transport networks, public health and the prevention of and fight against organised crime.

A substantial increase will take place in the budget and provisions will be inserted to allow for reallocation of funds among programmes and projects. This will ensure that obstacles to absorption of funds are eliminated and good performance rewarded.

For more information about the EU neighbourhood policy, please go to the dedicated ENP site.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 11 March 2003, entitled “Wider Europe – Neighbourhood: A new Framework for relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours” [COM(2003) 104 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Communication of 1 July 2003, entitled “Paving the Way for a New Neighbourhood Instrument” [COM(2003) 393 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

 

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.