EU cooperation with eastern neighbours in the framework of the Eastern Partnership
"The Eastern Partnership is an EU policy aimed at bringing our Eastern neighbours closer to the European Union. The instruments of the Eastern partnership are used to help the participating countries with their transformation. "
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle
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What is it?
The Eastern Partnership is an EU initiative launched at the Prague Summit in May 2009 which aims to deepen and strengthen relations between the European Union and its 6 Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
It strengthens bilateral relations between the EU and its Eastern European Partners and represents the Eastern dimension of the European Neighborhood Policy.
The main objective is to support political and socio-economic reforms in partner countries to:
- foster political association and further economic integration
- support mobility of citizens and visa liberalisation as a long term goal
- enhance sector cooperation
The Partnership is based on common values of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
The commitment to the Eastern Partnership initiative and its objectives was reaffirmed at the Warsaw Summit in 2011.
How does it work?
The Eastern Partnership follows two parallel tracks: bilateral and multilateral.
1/ Bilateral dimension supports closer bilateral relations between EU and each Eastern partner country, through:
- Support to reforms in 3 main areas: good governance; rule of law and fundamental freedoms; sustainable economic and social development, trade and investment,
- Association Agreements,
- Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTA).
2/ Multilateral dimension provides a new framework for exchange and cooperation, via:
- Thematic platforms to foster exchanges of best practices on issues of mutual interest: good governance, economic integration and growth, energy security and transport, contacts between people,
- Flagship initiatives, which are regional cooperation projects in the fields of: energy, environment, response to disasters, border management, support to small businesses.
Partnership with civil society is also a key priority. Several initiatives were put in place to support civil society organisations in Eastern Partnership countries, such as: Civil Society Forum, Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility.
New Eastern Partnership Initiatives
Several new initiatives have been already launched to support and reinforce the Eastern Partnership, including:
- Eastern Partnership Integration and Cooperation Programme
- Comprehensive Institution Building
- Regional Development (Pilot Regional Development Programmes)
- European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development
- Eastern Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility
Regional programmes and projects
Priority areas for regional cooperation were defined in the ENPI Eastern Regional Strategy Paper for 2007 to 2013 adopted by the European Commission in March 2007.
Regional programmes and projects reinforce the EU cooperation with its Eastern partners in the framework of the Eastern Partnership initiative. They can be grouped in the following priority areas:
- Border and migration management;
- People-to-people activities;
- Landmines, explosive remnants of war, small arms and light weapons.
More information on the regional projects and programmes can be found on the EU Neighbourhood Info Centre website.
The total amount available for both bilateral and regional programmes with Eastern European Partners is € 1.9 billion for the period 2010-2013. This includes € 350 million of additional funds made available when the Eastern Partnership was launched.