European Commission announces extra €1.2 billion for Europe's neighbours
Azerbaijan , Baku, 25 May/ Trend
An extra €1.24 billion will be made available for the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), increasing the EU's support to its partners in the South and the East to nearly €7 billion over the next two years, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso announced today, on the day the Commission publishes its review of the ENP.
"This is much more than a commitment to extra money. It is a tangible expression of our commitment to reforms in the partner countries. And it shows we are serious in our desire to help those who aspire to political freedom and a better future", Barroso said in a statement issued on the eve of the G8 Summit and described as a concrete response to the Arab Spring and the aspirations of the EU's Eastern Partners.
"This is in our shared interest", he said. "We all share one future. If we promote democracy and development, we foster stability and avoid instability".
He said the EU needed to set clearer conditions and give 'more for more'.
"One concrete example is to create a European Endowment for Democracy to support our partner's democratic changes. We will also set up a Civil Society Facility to enhance the political role of non-state actors, such as NGOs or social partners", Barroso said.
Aid alone was not the answer to the socio-economic challenges in the EU's neighbourhood, President Barroso said. "We need to do more to boost growth and jobs. I will push for faster free trade agreements, targeted concessions and smart investment facilities. That is a win-win situation for us and our partners".