The executive is stepping-up financial assistance to help speed reforms in neighbouring countries and seeks closer co-operation to secure energy supplies.
On 4 December 2006 the Commission presented the results of the ENP Action Plans that were launched in 2005 (Ukraine, Moldova, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Tunisia and Morocco). The reports praise the progress made, especially by Ukraine, Morocco and Jordan.
External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said: “There is scope to increase the impact of this policy. We can do more. We have listened to our partners and today I am making proposals responding to what they have told us.”
The Commission proposes:
- To foster co-operation with neighbour countries in economic and trade terms and ease visa procedures;
- more co-operation concerning the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), co-ordination of positions in international organisations and participation in EU agencies, and;
- increased sectoral co-operation in key sectors, such as energy, transport, the environment, migration and public health.
The ENP sectoral progress report stresses: “Energy cooperation with ENP countries is crucial for the EU’s energy security and has been significantly enhanced.” The EU is also increasing co-operation through the Euro-Mediterranean Energy Forum and the Energy initiative for the Black Sea region and has already developed agreements on close energy co-operation with Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Algeria. The EU also signed another agreement on energy co-operation with Kazakhstan on 4 December 2006.
The Commission has also decided to give away more “carrots” in order to bring about reforms in its neighbouring countries. The ENP budget for 2007-13 amounts to €12 billion. Of this, €1bn will go to two new funds. These comprise a €300 million fund to support governance reform and another €700 million to co-fund the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) borrowing, in hopes that member states will step up their contributions to €7bn. Such funds could be used, for example, to finance energy infrastructure programmes.