European Neighbourhood Policy
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is the EU’s key foreign policy towards 16 of its neighbours — Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine. Although Russia is also a neighbour of the EU, our relations are instead developed through a Strategic Partnership covering four "common spaces".
The ENP relies on bilateral Action Plans, agreed between the EU and each partner, which set out the agenda for reform over three to five years. At present, twelve ENP Action Plans are in place (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Moldova, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Tunisia and Ukraine). All ENP Action Plans refer to public health cooperation. Depending on an individual country’s priorities, such cooperation is envisaged in particular fields such as:
- Health sector reform and health policy dialogue
- Health information and knowledge
- Communicable disease surveillance and control and health security
Progress reports on the implementation of the action plans are published annually.
For the period 2007-2013, the ENP is supported by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. The amount of EU funding available is nearly €12 billion. Legislative approximation, regulatory convergence and institution-building are being supported through technical assistance mechanisms (TAIEX) or twinning programmes with EU Member States' administrations.
Health reform is under way in most ENP countries. This should lead to healthier lifestyles, better access to quality health-care services and diminishing health inequalities. Certain ENP countries face specific challenges from communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (notably Eastern partners). Communicable diseases represent potential cross-border risks to both the EU and our neighbourhood; therefore it is essential to strengthen capacities for rapid detection, investigation and control of outbreaks. In addition, non-communicable diseases (cardio-vascular, cancer, etc.) pose a major disease burden in the ENP region, as is the case in the EU. The ENP seeks to promote action in the field of public health in order to improve the general health status of the population and tackle specific issues such as communicable diseases.
In addition, health is present in other areas covered by the Action Plans. For example, achieving aims in the fields of socio-economic development, poverty reduction, the environment, food safety, research and development, road safety or the information society (e-health) will also contribute to better health.