Moldova, Ukraine, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority are the first of the EU’s neighbours to agree Action Plans, that will make concrete the European Union’s new offer under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). These first plans – approved today by the European Commission – are the product of negotiations with each country, and in each case the plan is specifically designed to reflect the specific interests of the country concerned. The Action Plans will help strengthen democracy, good governance, the rule of law and human rights as well as helping with economic modernisation. The concrete benefits they contain, include the chance to participate in some EU programmes and a stake in Single Market. In addition the EU is offering more targeted help to tackle cross border issues, such as migration and trafficking, as well as improved interconnections and physical links with the EU in areas like energy and transport.
“My aim is to create a ring of friends around the borders of our enlarged EU” said Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and the European Neighbourhood Policy. “We have worked with our neighbours to devise tailor-made plans that meet the needs and reflect the requests of each partner. Our offer – greater co-operation, more financial assistance, and a chance to benefit from a closer relationship with Europe, - will bring real benefits to both sides in a range of fields from Education to the Environment, and from Transport to the fight against Terrorism”.
The Action Plans reflect the EU’s determination not to allow new dividing lines to grow up around the enlarged Union, but rather to export the stability and prosperity that the EU enjoys. The Plans will:
* offer assistance in bringing legislation or regulations in line with the EU to increase access to the EU internal market,
* offer participation in a number of EU programmes including education, research, environment and audio-visual,
* step up co-operation on border management, migration, trafficking in human beings, organised crime, money laundering and financial and economic crimes,
* improve links with the EU in the fields of energy, transport, and information technology, and
* increase dialogue and co-operation on counter-terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as efforts to resolve regional conflict.
For each country, the Action Plan is an agenda for work with the EU over the next 3-5 years. The plans do not replace, but build on the existing Association or Co-operation Agreement with each partner.
They make it possible to define more clearly priorities, and to link financial assistance more closely to the achievement of mutually agreed goals. The “tailor-made” principle means that each partner will choose how far it wants to deepen its political and economic ties with the EU. The further a partner is ready to go in taking practical steps to implement common values, the further the EU will be ready to go in strengthening links.
The Action Plans now pass to the Council for endorsement, and to the relevant Association or Co-operation Council for approval.
The Commission has adopted the Action Plan for Ukraine as a demonstration of its full commitment to the country. The Commission recommends that the Council transmit this Plan to the EU–Ukraine Co-operation Council for approval as soon as developments, including the holding of free and fair Presidential elections, make it possible to envisage implementation.
For more information: