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International affairs

Promoting the European Neighbourhood

Business people's hands on top of each other © fotolia

The European Commission has stakes and commitments close to home under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which includes the Union for the Mediterranean and the Eastern Partnership. Action Plans and Association Agendas have been agreed with ENP partner countries that involve significant work in areas such as enterprise policy and technical regulations and standards. Several neighbour countries have also adopted reference documents inspired by the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) to stimulate entrepreneurship and favourable business conditions in order to create growth and jobs.

DG Enterprise and Industry exchanges information, know-how and good practice relating to enterprise and industrial policies and programmes with Mediterranean neighbour countries . Priority work areas are defined by the EuroMed Ministers for Industry. They include SME promotion, business networks, the future of the textiles and clothing sector, trade facilitation for industrial products and creative industries. A key reference document to progress in these areas and to guide reforms is the Small Business Act for Europe.

DG Enterprise and Industry is engaged with all Mediterranean partner countries and many Eastern Partnership countries in preparatory work for so-called Agreements on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAAs). ACAAs are a specific type of mutual recognition agreement based on the alignment of the legislative system and infrastructure of the country concerned with those of the European Union. This is of particular importance for partner countries which have concluded or envisage concluding a DCFTA (Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement) with the EU.

Apart from work on bilateral level, DG Enterprise and Industry is working with Eastern partner countries within the framework of Platform 2 of the Eastern Partnership. The work of Platform 2 touches the core of what the Eastern Partnership is all about – economic integration leading to concrete deliverables for people on the ground. DG Enterprise and Industry is leading the work of this Platform and is particularly engaged as regards the dedicated Panel on SME Policy. Within the framework of this Panel, the EU has undertaken an assessment based on the principles of the SBA following the example of the work with the Western Balkans and Turkey and with the Mediterranean partner countries. As partner countries confirmed the usefulness of this assessment, a second assessment round will take place. DG Enterprise and Industry is also in charge of the Trade Panel focusing on technical regulations and standardisation (other dimensions of the Trade Panel are covered by DG Trade and DG Taxation and Customs Union).

Further information on the ENP can be found here


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