Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

EU Neighbours

The Digital Agenda for Europe includes various activities working with third countries that are geographically close to the EU

Non-EU members of the "European Economic Area"

The European Economic Area includes Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Work in this area typically relates to the proper transposition of relevant EU legal acts in the EEA agreement.

Possible future EU member states

The work involves either accession negotiations or exploring the possibility of future accession based on Chapter 10 of the EU Acquis covering information society & media issues (electronic communications, information society services, content and media), together with the eight countries taking part in the enlargement process of the EU (Iceland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kosovo1).

Other EU Neighbours

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was developed in 2004, to avoid the emergence of new dividing lines between the EU and our neighbours and in order to increase the prosperity, stability and security of the region. The ENP framework covers 16 of the EU's closest neighbours – Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine. It is further enriched and complemented by regional and multilateral co-operation initiatives: the Eastern Partnership, the Union for the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea Synergy.

The EU policy towards the region aims at strengthening regional and bilateral cooperation to secure a fair, open, competitive and transparent market for telecommunications, a connected ICT research and innovation environment, a diverse media landscape and an open and vibrant Internet for all.
eHealth and eSignatures are concrete examples for policy cooperation with this region. Regarding regulatory approximation in electronic communications, work relates to supporting the two networks of national regulators, EMERG in the South and EaPeReg in the East. On eInfrastructures for Research and Innovation, special mention goes to the regional network EUMEDCONNECT in the South and the forthcoming EPIC in the East.


Relations with the Russian Federation are steered via the longstanding EU-Russia Information Society Dialogue with the Russian Ministry of Telecoms and Mass Communications. Topics that are typically discussed in this Dialogue include:

  • Regulatory convergence and market access: radio spectrum, roaming, universal service, and number portability.
  • Standards' convergence and interoperability for on-line services: in this context, the Dialogue includes topics such as eSignature, eID, eGovernment and Safer Internet.
  • Access to Russian Centres of Excellence in various disciplines: the interconnection of the Russian Research and Education Networks to GEANT and other eInfrastructures will allow European researchers to access Russian Centres of Excellence and the corresponding research facilities.
  • Access to Russian expertise in ICTs and related Programmes in a number of ICT domains, including embedded systems and robotics, nano-electronics and photonics, GRID and cloud computing, software engineering, digital libraries, ICT for health, trust and security.

1This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

Last updated on 08/09/2014 - 12:39