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Questions and Answers

European Commission – Fact Sheet

Brussels, 18 May 2017

What is the focus of the ENP Review implementation?

  • The implementation process reflects the way in which the EU and its partners in the East and the South have been working to promote stabilisation (through building up resilience) focussing on the key priorities identified in the ENP Review adopted in November 2015: good governance, democracy, rule of law and human rights; economic development for stabilisation; security; and migration and mobility.

How have the ENP Review principles been applied?

  • Following the adoption of the ENP Review, relations with the neighbouring countries have been reenergised through new forms of tailor-made partnerships. This has included work on new country-specific frameworks for bilateral cooperation in the form of Partnership Priorities and updated Association Agendas or existing Action Plans. The approach of joint ownership has made it possible to better reflect individual needs and aspirations of partner countries as well as EU interests and values. Financial assistance is being used in a more flexible way, to support the new priorities of the ENP.

How has coordination with other relevant policies been ensured?

  • The ENP Review implementation has been guided by the overarching political priorities for the EU’s external action agreed with the Council following publication of the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy in June 2016.
  • Coherence has also been ensured with the Rome Declaration which promotes a stronger role of Europe on the global stage, and with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its sustainable development goals.

What is the state of play of bilateral engagement with Southern partners?

  • Partnership Priorities with Lebanon and Jordan were adopted at the end of 2016, and with Algeria in March 2017.
  • Draft Partnership Priorities with Egypt were provisionally agreed in December 2016.
  • A Joint Communication on strengthening EU support for Tunisia was adopted in September 2016 that set out further actions to promote long-term stability, including good governance, justice reform, socio-economic development and security.
  • The EU has supported Morocco‘s reforms agenda in a wide range of social, economic and justice sectors.
  • In Libya, EU cooperation has adjusted to the very particular circumstances, including by channelling support through municipalities.
  • The EU Strategy for Syria adopted in March 2016 sets out the EU’s strategic goals, immediate objectives and lines of action for the resolution of the war in the country and dealing with its immediate and long-term humanitarian impact.
  • As regards Israel and Palestine, the EU remains firmly committed to a two-state solution, which is vital for peace, the stability and long-term development of the region. The EU has invested considerably in strengthening the capacity of the Palestinian Authority. EU funding has also focused on investments that can contribute to sustainable improvements of living conditions, particularly in the Gaza Strip.

What is the state of play of bilateral engagement with Eastern partners?

  • Parts of the Association Agreement with Ukraine have been provisionally applied since 2014, with the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) being provisionally applied since 1 January 2016. Visa free regime is undergoing EU’s approval process and is expected to enter into force in July.
  • The EU-Georgia Association Agreement entered into force in July 2016 (provisionally applied since 2014), the EU-Georgia Association Agenda 2017-2020 is being updated, Georgia acceded to the Energy Community Treaty in October 2016 and the short-term visa free travel for Georgia citizens entered into force at the end of March 2017.
  • The EU-Moldova Association Agreement entered into force in July 2016 (provisionally applied since 2014) and work is ongoing on the Association Agenda.
  • Negotiations with Armenia on a new Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement were concluded in February 2017.
  • Negotiations on a comprehensive agreement with Azerbaijan aimed at replacing the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (in force since 1999) were launched in February 2017.
  • An informal Coordination Group, formed by EU and Belarus senior officials, was set up at the beginning of 2016 to better reflect the state of bilateral relations.

What is the state of play of regional engagement with Eastern partners?

  • Based on the Riga priorities, since 2016 a more results-oriented approach towards the Eastern Partnership has been applied with a continued focus on strengthening state and societal resilience. A new strategic work-plan combining both bilateral and regional cooperation aims to guide the work of the EU and the six Eastern Partnership countries between Summits, by focusing on twenty deliverables by 2020. Each deliverable is linked to implementation tools, with clear milestones to be reached by the time of the next Eastern Partnership Summit in November 2017, and targets to be achieved by 2020. In parallel, work has continued in the framework of the Black Sea Synergy.

What is the state of play of regional engagement with Southern partners?

  • A roadmap with concrete proposals to revise existing priorities of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and to increase synergies was endorsed by the UfM Ministers of Foreign Affairs on 23 January 2017 in Barcelona.
  • In December 2016, the EU and the League of Arab States confirmed, at ministerial level, the Joint Work Programme, which puts an emphasis on activities related to crisis management, civil society, human rights, diplomacy, electoral observation and increased participation of women in economic development.
  • The EU’s cooperation with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has gained new impetus with the successful co-organisation of a High Level Event on Anti-Muslim Discrimination and Hatred in New York in January 2016.

What progress has been registered in the area of good governance, democracy, rule of law and human rights?

  • These priorities feature prominently in discussions on Partnership Priorities and revised Association Agendas. Through political dialogue, the EU continues to engage with partners on promoting respect of international human rights commitments.
  • In 2016 the Commission developed in close co-operation with OECD/SIGMA the Principles of Public Administration (PAR) to be used as a reference framework for those ENP countries that are committed to reform their administrations in line with internationally recognised good governance principles and practices.
  • In 2016, the EU started implementing the Rights-Based Approach, encompassing all human rights, as one of the guiding principles of ENI financial assistance and an opportunity to mainstream more effectively the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • The EU has continued to challenge the shrinking space available for civil society action throughout the Neighbourhood. The EU is implementing roadmaps for engagement with civil society.
  • The implementation of the EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020 has led to mandatory gender analysis of all project proposals and the inclusion of gender in all Partnership Priorities, Association Agendas and country reports.

What progress has been registered in the area of economic development for stabilisation?

  • As regards domestic business environments, in October 2016 the EU together with the OECD launched a joint Programme on Promoting Investment in the Mediterranean.
  • The setting up and implementation of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTA) with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine is opening new trade and investment opportunities and a more stable operating framework for companies from the EU and the region. The EU is the number one trading partner for all three DCFTA partners.
  • A number of initiatives on economic modernisation and entrepreneurship strategies aim at fostering SMEs.
  • Increased emphasis has been put on drawing together the strands of cooperation in youth employment and employability.
  • Work has continued in implementing regional development policy in partner countries.
  • Education and youth cooperation is being supported by Erasmus+ programme. 57 new capacity building projects further support the modernisation of higher education systems and universities in neighbouring countries. In addition to Erasmus+, participation to other programmes opens up new cooperation opportunities for administrations, businesses, universities, cultural and audio-visual operators, professionals, young people, students and researchers.
  • The EU has been active in promoting in particular the use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
  • On transport and connectivity, agreements amongst EU and various partner countries have been reached to ensure the necessary coordination, standardisation and prioritisation of major investments on core transport networks. Technical assistance projects are ongoing as well.

What progress has been registered in the security area?

  • Several civilian CSDP missions and border assistance missions have been deployed in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Palestine and Libya and are financially supported by EU Member States or CSDP Trust Funds.
  • Based on their 2016 Joint Declaration, the EU and NATO have stepped up their cooperation and coordination through a set of concrete measures that seek to support partners’ capacity building efforts in the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhoods and to strengthen their resilience.
  • The EU supported ongoing dialogues on the conflicts affecting Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan with the aim of reaching peaceful and sustainable solutions.
  • Cooperation with the Southern partners on tackling terrorism and preventing radicalisation leading to violent extremism has been strengthened. Upgraded security and counter-terrorism dialogues, and high-level visits have been conducted in the region. Counter-terrorism/security experts have been deployed in several EU Delegations with direct support of EU Member States.
  • EU support to security sector reform in third countries is now framed by the new EU Security sector reform (SSR) policy adopted in July 2016.
  • EU agencies are gradually getting more involved in providing capacity building support to partner countries and intensifying the exchange of operational and strategic information with ENP partner countries to help combat organised crime.
  • Activities of the Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation (CBRN) Centres of Excellence (CoE) have been increased.

What progress has been registered in the area of migration and mobility?

  • The EU has put in place a comprehensive approach to migration, which encompasses efforts to reduce irregular migration, to promote legal migration and mobility, to maximise the development impact of migration, address root causes, and effectively manage borders while safeguarding the right of EU citizens to free movement within the EU. This is reflected in the Communication on a new Partnership Framework with third countries adopted under the European Agenda on Migration and the Communication on Forced Displacement and Development and the related European Council Conclusions of June 2016.
  • The EU has worked closely with the Member States of the Khartoum and Rabat Processes (both Neighbourhood countries and wider regional partners) to implement the agreed actions of the Valletta Summit on Migration (November 2015).
  • In June 2016, the European Commission proposed a revised Blue Card Directive as part of the new policy on legal migration and making it more effective to attracting talent to the EU.
  • Mobility Partnerships offer a framework for comprehensive cooperation with partner countries in order to address mobility issues, including where appropriate visa issues, as well as the need to facilitate return and readmission of irregular migrants.

What examples are there to illustrate that financial assistance is delivered in a more flexible way?

  • Since the adoption of the ENP Review in November 2015, the EU has brought together a number of different tools to further improve the coordination and coherence of all aid modalities. To this end, grant cooperation programmes have been complemented by other activities designed and led by partner institutions with a more strategic use of blending, TAIEX, and Twinning. In particular, TAIEX and Twinning have been refocused to create closer synergy between policy work and financial assistance programming.
  • The EU actively supports neighbouring countries that are facing exceptional external financing shortages through its Macro-Financial Assistance instrument and the Neighbourhood Investment Facility.
  • In line with the ENI regulation, the ENP Review, and the Council Conclusions on stepping up Joint Programming of 12 May 2016, the EU is moving towards more joint programming in the neighbourhood.
  • Recognising the important role of the International Financial Institutions, the European Commission followed up on an enhanced cooperation initiative, launched in 2015, with the most relevant development financial institutions active in the neighbourhood region.
  • The EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis has reached a total of EUR 932 million two years after its inception and will reach EUR 1.3 billion by summer 2017. In January 2017, a further EUR 200 million was announced to support the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.  
  • In September 2016, the Commission proposed the creation of a ‘flexibility cushion’ for external instruments to allow the EU to better react to new crises and unforeseen needs. The flexibility cushion is part of the proposed revision of the Financial Regulation.
  • In September 2016, the European Commission proposed an ambitious European External Investment Plan to support investment in partner countries in Africa and the European Neighbourhood.

How often will such reports be published?

  • Such neighbourhood-wide reports will be published regularly, although not necessarily on a yearly basis since country-specific reports will be adopted annually ahead of high-level meetings between the EU and each ENP partner country.