Programme Activity Areas
Political context (ENP) and financial source (ENPI)
In 2003, in the wake of EU enlargement, the European Commission introduced the new European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), for all its neighbours to the east and the south (COM(2003) 104, March 2003). The overall objective of this policy is to bring neighbouring countries closer to the EU policies and practices. The ENP “seeks to contribute to stability and good governance in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood and to promote a ring of well-governed countries to the East and South of the EU with whom the EU can enjoy close and cooperative relations.
The European Neighbourhood Policy is all about working together with states that share a land or sea border with the EU, to increase the prosperity, stability and security of the EU’s neighbours in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and the South shore of the Mediterranean.
Neighbours who want to carry out reforms to improve their standards of democracy and human rights, to increase their access to the EU's single market, to improve the environment or to step up their co-operation with the EU on issues like climate change, energy, transport or migration, have the possibility to work on a joint Action Plan with the EU, and can look forward to substantial assistance: technical help, political support, and financial aid.
The ENP is a jointly owned initiative and its implementation requires action on both sides, by the neighbours and by the EU. Although much was achieved so far much also remains to be done if the ENP’s goals are to be achieved.
In support of the ENP, as part of the reform of EC assistance instruments, the EU decided to replace, starting from January 1st 2007, the geographical programmes - TACIS (for our Eastern neighbours and Russia) and MEDA (for our Southern Mediterranean neighbours) – and various thematic programmes with a single European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). ENPI is a much more flexible, policy-driven instrument. It is designed to target sustainable development, progressive economic integration between the EU and its neighbouring countries and their approximation to EU policies and standards. ENPI supports the agreed priorities in the partnership and cooperation agreements between the EU and the Partner Countries, such as the Barcelona Process, the Association Agreements, and the ENP Action Plans. Among the innovative tools of technical assistance for the ENP partners, legislative approximation, regulatory convergence and institution-building are being supported through mechanisms which proved successful in transition countries that are now EU Member States i.e. targeted expert assistance (Technical Assistance and Information Exchange - TAIEX), long-term twinning arrangements with EU Member States’ administrations – national, regional or local – and participation in relevant Community programmes and agencies.
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is the first comprehensive initiative introduced into the system of the European Union’s external relations, addressed to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The Eastern Partnership is designed to help the countries of Eastern Europe and South Caucasus with their approximation to and integration with the European Union. The EaP has injected a new quality into relations between the EU and the countries covered by the initiative through their gradual integration with the European Union.
The initiative was officially launched at the first Eastern Partnership summit in Prague on May 7 2009, which adopted a Joint Declaration. It marked the successful establishment of the Partnership as an integral component of European Union foreign policy.
It endorsed the launch of Flagship Initiatives in order to give momentum and concrete substance to the Partnership. The present Programme supports the operation of the Eastern Partnership multilateral framework and advance the development of the Flagship Initiative bearing the same name.