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European Neighbourhood

The European Union aims to foster closer relations with its neighbours to the East and South, promoting prosperity, security and stability.

With this in mind, the European Commission adopted on 7 July 2011 a Communication entitled " The EU and its neighbouring regions: A renewed approach to transport cooperation . This Communication provides a renewed policy framework for promoting transport infrastructure and market development in the countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy and enlargement.

EU Transport Council adopted conclusions on transport cooperation pdf - 35 KB [35 KB] with the EU's neighbouring regions on 6 October 2011. Transport Council emphasised the importance of better transport connections in achieving deeper economic integration and closer political association with the neighbouring regions.

The EU is taking forward transport cooperation with its neighbours to the East (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) within the Eastern Partnership Transport Panel. With neighbours to the South, the EU cooperates within the EuroMed Transport Project. SEETO (South East Europe Transport Observatory) is a regional transport cooperation framework for the countries in the Western Balkans.

Eastern Partnership Transport Panel

The Eastern Partnership was launched in May 2009 in order to enhance the cooperation with six countries of Eastern Europe and Southern Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The Eastern Partnership Transport Panel was established on 23 September 2011 pdf - 18 KB [18 KB] . The Panel is a framework for exchange of information and best practice between the partner countries and the EU Member States. Its goal is to strengthen transport connections both between the partner countries and the EU and between partner countries themselves. It addresses reforms underpinning regulatory convergence across transport modes.

Ministerial Conference in Krakow on 25 October 2011

Transport Ministers of EU Member States and of the Eastern Partnership countries met in Krakow, Poland on 25 October 2011 to take forward transport cooperation. They summarised priorities for cooperation in a Joint Declaration pdf - 16 KB [16 KB] .

The Ministers launched officially the Eastern Partnership Transport Panel and entrusted it with the task of following up actions set out in the Commission Communication "The EU and its neighbouring regions: A renewed approach to transport cooperation".

Ministerial Conference in Luxembourg on 9 October 2013

At this meeting, the transport ministers endorsed key results and gave guidance for future cooperation with a joint declaration pdf - 145 KB [145 KB] .

The first results of closer transport cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries can be summarised as follows:

  • Harmonization with the EU legislation and gradual market integration: the partner countries have started reforms to align their transport systems with EU standards. The association agreements that the EU has negotiated with several partner countries envisage more regulatory convergence in transport. The most significant achievements of market integration are the signature and implementation of comprehensive aviation agreements that the EU has negotiated with Georgia and Moldova.
  • Regional Eastern Partnership Transport Network: Partner countries have agreed on priority connections in road, railway, air and sea transport in the Eastern Partnership region. Most importantly, this network connects with the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) and will serve as guidance for future investments.
  • Priority infrastructure projects on the regional transport network: projects such as the reconstruction of the Krakovits-Lviv-Brody-Rivne road in Ukraine and the upgrade of the railway line between Georgia and Azerbaijan are among those which partner countries have identified as priorities for improving connections with the EU and within the region. These projects could benefit from financing under existing EU funds and loans from international financial institutions.

Following the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius on 28-29 November 2013, the Eastern Partnership Transport Panel will oversee continuing technical cooperation to advance regulatory convergence and the implementation of specific projects.

TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia)

Transport cooperation with countries in the South Caucasus and Central Asia aims to better link the EU and Asia. The EU is supporting the work of TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission, where countries in Central Asia, and in the EU´s Eastern Neighbourhood as well as two EU Member States (Romania, Bulgaria) are cooperating to develop a multi-modal corridor linking the EU and Asia. The EU is financing TRACECA projects through technical assistance under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. Since 2004, the EU-funded technical assistance projects have mostly focused on transport safety and security, legal harmonisation initiatives and institutional support including training.

Currently the EU is financing the following technical assistance projects in the framework of TRACECA:

  1. Logistics Processes and Motorways of the Seas (2011 – 2014; budget:  5.2 mln EUR)
  2. Civil aviation safety and security (2012 – 2015; budget: 5.2 mln EUR)
  3. Transport Dialogue and Networks Interoperability II (2012-2015; budget: 3.5 mln EUR)
  4. Maritime Safety and Security II (2012-2015; budget: 3 mln EUR) 
  5. Road Safety II (From 2014, 3 mln EUR)