Principle of new EU policy not to affect civil society of neighborhood countries
Azerbaijan, Baku, July 8 /Trend, E.Ostapenko/
The basic principle of the new European Neighborhood Policy "more funding for big reforms" will not affect the funding of civil society of the neighboring countries, Charge d'Affaires of the EU delegation in Azerbaijan Jerome Pons said on Friday.
"The EU plans to strengthen its cooperation with the civil society in Azerbaijan, he said. - We plan to finance a number of Azerbaijani NGOs, instructing them to implement joint programs".
The European Union has launched a new mechanism of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in late May, under which additionally more than 1.2 billion euros will be allocated to neighborhood countries and the total funding will reach nearly seven billion euros.
The basic principle of the new ENP is "more for more", implying an increase in funding of the neighborhood countries under the proper implementation of political and economic reforms. This principle works in inverse direction - the less the necessary reforms are implemented by the government of the partner country, the less funding will be provided by the European Union.
Pons said this principle does not refer to supporting the civil society in partner countries. He remembered the successful civil society forum within the Eastern Partnership. This forum provides opportunity for NGOs to submit their recommendations and initiatives for the development of relations between the EU and Azerbaijan.
Each year an increasing number of Azerbaijani NGOs are willing to participate in the forum, he said. If to compare with other partner countries, this year the largest number of statements were received from Azerbaijan.
"It is a good sign and we will continue to develop and strengthen cooperation with NGOs in Azerbaijan," Pons said to a news conference.
The EU also plans to intensify activities on the development of educational programs of the European Union in Azerbaijan, he said.
On Tuesday the European Commission announced its decision to allocate 47 million euros to support projects in the field of higher education in the European Neighbourhood Policy countries and in Russia under the Tempus Programme.
The new funding is intended to improve the methodology and quality of teaching, educational materials, as well as improve quality of control and management of higher education institutions in EU partner countries.