The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) aims to forge closer ties with countries to the South and East of the EU without offering them a membership perspective. Through this policy, the EU seeks to promote greater economic development, stability and better governance in its neighbourhood.

Overview

In 2004, the Commission presented its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and unveiled action plans for closer ties with seven new neighbours. The countries involved in the first round are Ukraine, Moldova, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and the Palestinian Authority. The second ENP round was outlined in 2005, when the Commission issued country reports on Egypt and Lebanon as well as the Southern Caucasus countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. 

The ENP will also include Russia, despite the fact that the EU has a long-standing separate partnership programme with Moscow. In the south, the policy encompasses countries that are already involved in the EU's EuroMed programme: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, as well as the Palestinian Authority. The ENP does not include candidate countries for EU membership such as Turkey and the Western Balkan countries.

Issues

The ENP does not aim to open up the prospect of membership to the countries concerned. In the words of Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the ENP is "not an enlargement policy. It does not prejudge prospects for European countries that may at some future point wish to apply for membership, but it does not provide for a specific accession prospect either". Instead, it seeks to provide a means for reinforcing bilateral relations and for strengthening security and stability. It holds out the prospect of a significant degree of integration, including a stake for the partner states in the EU's internal market. Longer term, the Commission plans to open up certain Community programmes for the ENP partners.

Under the ENP, the EU would also seek to encourage human rights, the rule of law and good governance and would promote co-operation in fighting terrorism and cross-border crime such as trafficking in drugs and human beings.

In 2007 the Commission introduced the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) as a comprehensive new fund to promote co-operation, together with a new lending mandate of the European Investment Bank (EIB). All partner countries covered by the ENP will be eligible for support under the ENPI.

The EU has drawn up individual action plans for each partner country under the ENP, and regularly monitors progress through bodies established by the partnership and co-operation agreements or association agreements.

The countries of the Western Balkans are not covered by the ENP. The framework for the EU's relations with these states is the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP). 

Positions

The ENP's early-2007 status was as follows:

AA = Association Agreement

PCA = Partnership and Co-operation Agreement 

Country Contractual relations ENP country report ENP Action Plan Adoption by EU Adoption by partner country
Algeria AA 2005 Under development - - -
Armenia PCA 1999 March 2005 Agreed 2006 - -
Azerbaijan PCA 1999 March 2005 Agreed 2006 - -
Belarus - - - - -
Egypt AA 2004 March 2005 Under development - -
Georgia PCA 1999 March 2005 Agreed 2006 - -
Israel AA 2000 May 2004 Agreed 2004 21 Feb 2005 11 Apr 2005
Jordan AA 2002 May 2004 Agreed 2004 21 Feb 2005 11 Jan 2005
Lebanon AA 2002 March 2005 Agreed 2006 - -
Libya - - - - -
Moldova PCA 1998 May 2004 Agreed 2004 21 Feb 2005 22 Feb 2005
Morocco AA 2000 May 2004 Agreed 2004 21 Feb 2005 27 Jul 2005
Palestinian Authority Interim AA 1997 May 2004 Agreed 2004 21 Feb 2005 4 May 2005
Syria AA pending ratification - - - -
Tunisia AA 1998 May 2004 Agreed 2004 21 Feb 2005 4 Jul 2005
Ukraine PCA 1998 May 2004 Agreed 2004 21 Feb 2005 21 Feb 2005

Further information on the countries covered by the ENP:

Algeria:

The EU's financial co-operation with Algeria is based on a 1979 agreement, which was followed by the Barcelona declaration. An Association Agreement was initialled by the two parties on 19 December 2001.

Armenia:

The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the EU and Armenia entered into force on 1 July 1999. The PCA provides for trade liberalisation and co-operation in a wide range of areas. Tacis is the main financial and technical assistance instrument supporting the implementation of the PCA. The Commission issued its comprehesive country report on Armenia in March 2005.

Azerbaijan:

Azerbaijan, the EU’s largest trading partner in the Caucasus, holds a strategic location between the EU and Central Asia. The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the EU and Azerbaijan covers co-operation in all non-military areas. It entered into force on 22 June 1999. In May 2004 the Commission recommended the inclusion of Azerbaijan, along with Armenia and Georgia, in the ENP. The Council approved the recommendation in June 2004. The Commission issued its comprehesive country report on Azerbaijan in March 2005.

Belarus: 

The country's current system is considered authoritarian by the EU, and thus contractual links will be developed only upon the establishment of a democratic form of government based on free and fair elections. Meanwhile, Belarus remains eligible to participate in three of the current Neighbourhood Programmes (Baltic Sea Programme, Latvia-Lithuania-Belarus, Poland-Ukraine-Belarus). Belarus will also be eligible under the new European Neighbourhood Instrument.

Egypt:

The EU-Egypt Association Agreement was signed in Luxembourg on 25 June 2001. It came into force on 1 June 2004. A Protocol adapting the Agreement to the enlarged EU was initialled on 11 May 2004 with the Egyptian authorities. The Commission issued its comprehesive country report on Egypt in March 2005.

Georgia:

The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) entered into force on 1 July 1999. It provides for trade liberalisation and co-operation in a wide range of areas, under the Tacis programme. In May 2004 the Commission recommended the inclusion of Georgia, along with Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the ENP. The Council approved the recommendation in June 2004. The Commission issued its comprehesive country report on Georgia in March 2005.

Israel:

The EU-Israel Association Agreement was signed on 20 November 1995, and entered into force on 1 June 2000. It replaces the earlier Co-operation Agreement of 1975. The Association Agreement established two main bodies for the EU-Israel dialogue. The EU-Israel Association Council (held at ministerial level) and the EU-Israel Association Committee (held at the level of Senior officials) meet at regular intervals. Israel was the first and only non-European country to be fully associated to the European Community’s Framework Programme for Research and Technical Development.

Jordan:

The Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement with Jordan was signed on 24 November 1997. It entered into force on 1 May 2002, and replaces the Co-operation Agreement of 1977.

Lebanon:

The Association Agreement was signed on 17 June 2002. The entry into force of the EU-Lebanon Interim Agreement on trade and commercial issues on 1 March 2003 formally triggered the start of the 12-year transition period to free trade, one of the fundamental planks to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Ratification of the EU-Lebanon Association Agreement is proceeding steadily. The Commission issued its comprehesive country report on Egypt in March 2005.

Libya:

The EU currently has no contractual ties with Libya and the Commission has no Delegation in Tripoli. Nine EU Member States have embassies in Tripoli, and increased focus is being given to Libya following the lifting of the UN sanctions.

Moldova:

The Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA) between the EU and Moldova entered into force on 1 July 1998. Moldova is also a member of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. The EU believes that the resolution of the Transdniestrian conflict and Moldova's continuing openness regarding trade and investment, in line with its WTO commitments, will improve the prospects for poverty alleviation in the country.

Morocco:

The EU-Morocco Association Agreement was signed on 26 February 1996 and entered into force on 1 March 2000. It replaces the 1976 Co-operation Agreement.

Palestinian Authority:

The EU's main instruments to achieve its objectives are the Interim Association Agreement on Trade and Co-operation, which was signed in February 1997, and the Commission's financial assistance programme. Since 1995, the Palestinian Authority has also been a full and equal partner of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Barcelona Process), and thus it benefits from the MEDA programme. 

Russia  (not under ENP):

Russia is the EU's largest neighbour and yet it is not part of the ENP. The 1997 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) provides the legal basis for the EU's relations with Russia. The EU and Russia decided at the May 2003 St Petersburg summit to develop their strategic partnership through the creation of four 'common spaces'. This partnership aims to draw elements from the ENP. From 2007 onwards, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) supports this partnership. Meanwhile, Russia remains eligible to receive funding from the financial instruments underpinning the ENP.

Syria:

Syria formally confirmed its intention to start negotiations on an Association Agreement with the EU in October 1997. The agreement was signed in October 2004.

Tunisia:

Tunisia was the first country in the region to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union, in July 1995. The agreement came into force on March 1, 1998, and its application is judged, overall, to be satisfactory. Under the terms of the agreement, the EU and Tunisia commit themselves to creating a free trade area between themselves by the year 2010.

Ukraine

The EU's relations with Ukraine are based on the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA), which entered into force in 1998 for an initial period of ten years, and on the EU's Common Strategy of 1999 which originally covered four years but has been extended until December 2004. A Protocol to the PCA was signed by the EU and Ukraine on 30 March 2004 to extend the application of the agreement in full to the ten new EU Member States from 1 May 2004. The EU considers Ukraine a priority partner in the ENP framework. Under President Viktor Yushchenko, Kiev aims to join the EU as a member. The EU considers this a "realistic vision for the future", but for now Ukraine is not seen as a country in line for membership. In February 2005, the EU and Ukraine signed an updated three-year Action Plan on bilateral relations. In December 2005 the EU granted market economy status to Ukraine.