Azerbaijan, Baku, May 25 / Trend E. Ostapenko /
Today EU launched a "new and ambitious" European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), backed by more than €1.2 billion in new funding, bringing the total to almost €7 billion and confirming the EU's determined and reinforced engagement with its neighbours, ENPI said.
Today's proposal was put forward by the European External Action Service and the European Commission to Member States and the European Parliament. It sets out the main priorities and directions of a revitalised ENP strategy through a 'more funds for more reform' approach.
On top of the €5.7 billion already allocated for the period 2011-2013, additional funding of €1.24 billion has been transferred from other existing resources, and will now be made available in support of the ENP.
In addition, the European Council had agreed to the proposal to increase European Investment Bank (EIB) lending to the Southern Mediterranean.
Announcing the policy review, HR Ashton stressed how important the neighbourhood was to the European Union, quoting the first line of the document: "To the East and South of the European Union (EU) lie sixteen countries whose hopes and futures make a direct and significant difference to us."
The High Representative described the new approach as "a partnership between peoples aimed at promoting and supporting the development of deep democracy and economic prosperity in our neighbourhood".
Stressing that the policy did not offer a one-size-fits-all, but tailor-made support, she said the EU would make funding available for its neighbourhood partners, "to support and match the speed of political and economic reform they wish to make."
The renewed ENP builds on the achievements the EU's Neighbourhood Policy since it was first launched in 2004, offering new types of support for more sections of society, and introducing more incentives to pursue reform.
Commissioner Štefan Füle emphasized that many of Europe's neighbours were engaging in a transformation process out of which they wanted to emerge as more democratic and more prosperous societies. "The EU needs to respond with determination and ambition, through a new approach to the ENP, drawing the right lessons from our experience so far and addressing the challenges of a fast-changing neighbourhood."