Monday 3 September 2007, by European Commission
Why strengthen the ENP and how?
In 2004, the European Union adopted the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)  to support its partners’ political, economic and social reform processes and to deepen bilateral relations with them. During 2005 and 2006, ENP Action Plans were agreed with 10 partners, setting out agreed reform priorities .
In December 2006, the Commission reported on progress to date , noting that the policy was already making a significant contribution to deepening relations and strengthening ties between the EU and its neighbours. The Commission also made proposals as to how the policy, while it was already showing results, could be further strengthened. It proposed ways that the EU can help partners who are willing to reform to do this faster and better, bearing in mind that they are already bearing the costs of their reforms, and to provide incentives to convince those who are still hesitant. In particular, it proposed:
A clear perspective for all ENP partners, eastern as well as southern, of deep economic and trade integration with the EU, going beyond free trade in goods and services to address non-tariff barriers achieving comprehensive regulatory convergence.
Substantially improved visa procedures for certain types of visitors.
A strengthened regional approach in the east based on existing Black Sea co-operation – which was the subject of a further Communication in April 2007 .
A Neighbourhood Investment Facility to leverage lending by the International Financial Institutions. The indicative budget for this Facility is €700 million for 2007-2013.
A Governance Facility to give a top-up to those partners who have made most progress in implementing their Action Plan. The indicative budget for this Facility is €350 million for 2007-2013.
Ad hoc or regular ministerial and expert level meetings with ENP partners on subjects like energy, transport, the environment and public health.
Strengthened political co-operation, more systematic association of ENP partners with EU initiatives (foreign policy declarations, positions in international fora as well as participation in key programmes and EU agencies).
A more active role for the EU in conflict-settlement efforts in the region.
These proposals, as further elaborated in non-papers prepared by the Commission, were the subject of discussions within the EU under the German Presidency, culminating in a Presidency Report to the European Council in June 2007 .
Between 2007 and 2013, €12 billion will be devoted to the ENP countries: over 30% more than in the previous budget period.
Listening to partners
The purpose of the 3 September Conference is to hear the views of stakeholders from neighbouring countries – governmental and non-governmental (business, civil society, media, academics/think-tanks).
Over 500 participants are expected to attend, including Government representatives from all ENP and EU countries. A full list of participants will be available at the Conference and on the ENP website.
Discussions will focus on where partners feel greatest emphasis should be placed, where they see their interests reflected or where they still feel there is work to be done. The focus will also be on areas in which co-operation should be increased: opportunities for trade liberalisation, mobility, and the challenges of climate change and energy security.
What have we achieved so far?
Two and a half years after the launch of the European Neighbourhood Policy, we already see it is helping the EU to do more, more rapidly, for our closest partners.
Since 2004, 12 countries have agreed an Action Plan with the EU and are being implemented (see table below).
Political dialogue and co-operation with ENP partner countries has been significantly deepened in most cases, and greater co-operation achieved with certain partners on CFSP and ESDP issues. Moldova and Ukraine already align themselves with many of the EU’s foreign policy statements now and Morocco and Ukraine participate in the EU’s ALTHEA military operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
With different cultures and challenges, and different levels of commitment, each partner has addressed governance issues in its own way. The enhanced dialogue on human rights that has taken place with Mediterranean partners deserves special mention. There has also been important progress in several countries in the reform of electoral and judicial systems and in public sector governance.
Negotiations have begun on liberalising agricultural, processed agricultural and fishery products with Mediterranean partners, as well as work towards a free trade area for goods and towards a free trade agreement on liberalising services and establishment. At the same time, preparatory work began for the negotiation of a deep Free Trade Agreement in the framework of the Enhanced Agreement with Ukraine and the granting of autonomous trade preferences (ATPs) to Moldova. The EU and all partners agreed on priority areas for legislative and regulatory approximation, particularly where this will stimulate trade and economic integration. Progress in modernising and streamlining customs rules and services, to increase trade through less cumbersome procedures, reduced costs and delays. The twinning projects with Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan, as well as the EUBAM activities at the Moldova-Ukraine border are good examples in this area.
The ENP has been particularly useful with certain partners in addressing the shared challenge of migration. Agreements on readmission and visa facilitation were signed with Ukraine in June and initialled with Moldova in April 2007. Negotiations with Morocco for a readmission agreement are almost concluded. Co-operation on governance issues has also advanced, particularly in Morocco and Ukraine.
Energy bilateral dialogue and co-operation with neighbouring countries has been significantly enhanced (e.g. new energy dialogue with Moldova and Morocco), as well as regional cooperation (Euro-Mediterranean Energy Forum, Baku energy initiative). A Memorandum of Understanding on Energy has been signed with Ukraine, Azerbaijan and is being developed with Algeria and Egypt. Progress is being made on network projects which will, when finalised, contribute to the EU’s energy security.
A new scholarship scheme for undergraduates, post-graduates and doctoral students and university teachers has been launched in 2007 under the Erasmus Mundus umbrella («Neighbourhood Scholarships»). Also the Tempus programme has been redesigned so as to give a greater role for partner states and partner country universities and the European Training Foundation (ETF) is extending its scope from vocational education and training to human resource development and life-long learning
Reform and modernisation in other key sectors such as transport, public finance management, health services and the information society have been pursued actively by most partners.
The EU has been supporting these efforts, providing funding and sharing reform experience e.g. by providing technical advice, twinning and, progress towards opening Community programmes and agencies to ENP partners.
For more detailed information on achievements see ENP country and sectoral fiches at http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/howitworks_en.htm.
European Neighbourhood Policy web site
For more information on the proposals on Strengthening the European Neighbourhood Policy
Conference web site
Brussels, 30 August 2007
Source : Europa
 The EU’s policy towards its neighbours: Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine.
 In 2007, two further Action Plans were agreed with Egypt and Lebanon
 IP/2007/486: Black Sea Synergy – bringing the region closer to the EU and http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/com07_160_en.pdf