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International Issues

European Neighbourhood


Why cooperating with our partners on Environment:

  • Environment support to and cooperation with these countries is of strategic importance for the EU to achieve objectives inside the EU and to improve the quality of life of the citizens of partner countries and their competitiveness. The EU and its neighbours share common challenges, in particular transboundary pollution or loss of biodiversity in our shared environment (shared regional seas, shared rivers, shared biodiversity; addressing these challenges requires everybody's involvement and concerted action. Our EU Member States will not meet commitments under EU legislation if we do not engage the action of our neighbours. In addition, by promoting environmental cooperation, the EU improves the quality of life of citizens since we focus on basic services, modernisation of industries, investments, etc. One of the three NIF priorities is environment since environment is an infrastructure-intensive sector. This is how the EU promotes "sustainable economies and sustainable growth".
  • The enormous impact of conflicts on the environment which include: pollution of environmental resources (groundwater and rivers, soil contamination), the pressure of refugees on host communities (water availability and waste management), and the costs of addressing these needs/ post-conflict clean-up.
  • The role environment plays in promoting democratisation (CSOs and NGOs) is widely recognised even in complex countries  (Algeria, Armenia, Egypt,  Belarus) and in providing a platform for dialogue in conflict areas (Israel and Palestine). In fact environment is one of the success stories in regional cooperation both in the South and the East.

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was created in 2004 to offer the EU's neighbours a privileged relationship with a mutual commitment to common values.

The ENP covers the EU's closest neighbours: 6 countries in the East (Ukraine, Belarus, Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) and 10 countries in the South (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria). (Read more...)

At regional level the ENP is complemented by the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership - now the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the Eastern Partnership (EaP). Both include a clear environment priority given our shared environmental challenges (See the separate Eastern and Southern fiches).

At bilateral level the ENP is implemented through Action Plans or Association Agreements between the EU and each ENP partner (read more...). ENP Action Plans/Association Agendas reflect each partner's needs and capacities, as well as their and the EU’s interests. To date, there are 12 bilateral Action Plans or Association Agendas between the EU and each ENP partner.

Cross-border cooperation on the external borders of the EU is a key priority in the European Neighbourhood Policy. CBC promotes cooperation between an EU country and a neighbourhood country sharing a land border or sea crossing and has 3 main objectives among which - address common challenges in environment, public health, safety and security.

A strategy document guiding and explaining the implementation of the new phase of the Cross Border Cooperation in the Mediterranean Sea Basin (ENI CBC) to run until 2020 is published here.

DG Environment's objective is to improve the environmental performance in the neighbourhood countries; in this regard our aim is to continue to:

  • strengthen environmental co-operation through the implementation of bilateral Action Plans and Association Agreements;
  • promote convergence with EU standards;
  • ensure that environment investments are well supported in bilateral and regional funding programmes;
  • ensure coherence with other EU external actions targeting inter alia agriculture, transport and energy;
  • promote civil society as key to ensure sound environmental governance.

The ENP Review: Given the significant developments in the neighbourhood, the EEAS and the Commission have intiated the process to review of the principles on which the policy is based as well as its scope and how instruments should be used. To frame the debate, a joint consultation paper by the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy was adopted on 4 March 2015, setting out key questions for discussion with partners and stakeholders. After this consultation, a Communication setting out proposals for the future direction of the ENP will follow in the autumn.

How it is funded?

For 2014-2020 the total envelope for the neighborhood amount to €15 billion (€12 billion for 2007-2013). The New European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) Regulation was adopted in March 2014 with a clear environment objective (both as a crosscutting and specific priority for bilateral, multi-country and cross-border co-operation). Read more...

The Single Support Framework - is the simplified programming tool – which specifies the three priority areas for EU support in a given country.

Life call for proposals: LIFE is the EU's financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 4 171 projects, contributing approximately €3.4 billion euros to the protection of the environment and climate. Read more…