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European Parliament approves new European Neighbourhood Instrument for 2014-2020

Building on the achievements of the current European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), the ENI will support strengthening of relations with Neighbourhood countries and bring tangible benefits to both the EU and its partners. It will provide support through bilateral, multi-country and Cross Border Co-operation (CBC) programmes.

In a joint statement, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle and Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said: “The instruments adopted today allow us to pursue cooperation with our external partners on four policy priorities: enlargement, neighbourhood, cooperation with strategic partners and development cooperation.”

“In our EU Neighbourhood, we will efficiently accompany sector reforms and keep up the efforts of approximation in the East, and boost democratisation and economic and social development in the South,” the Commissioners said. “We will focus support to our neighbours even more on our political and policy agenda. It will allow for more differentiation and for giving incentives for best performers who genuinely implement deep and sustainable democracy, including respect for human rights, and agreed reform objectives.”

The final budget for the ENI stands at €15.433 billion (current prices), which is overall comparable with the total funding allocated under the current ENPI for 2007-2013.

In line with the renewed Neighbourhood Policy launched in 2011, ENI support will mainly focus on:

• Promoting human rights and the rule of law; establishing deep and sustainable democracy and developing a thriving civil society;
• Sustainable and inclusive growth and economic, social and territorial development; including progressive integration in the EU internal market;
• Mobility and people-to-people contacts; including student exchanges;
• Regional integration; including Cross-Border Cooperation programmes. 

“Thanks to the new Neighbourhood Instrument the EU should be able to react faster to the changing reality of our neighbourhood, while clearly supporting democratic values and human rights.  We are ready to give more support to countries that make progress on democratic reform, but also expect them to demonstrate more respect for these values,” said the EP’s ENI rapporteur Eduard Kukan.

The European Neighbourhood Instrument was endorsed by 618 votes to 53, with 8 abstentions.

Main elements of the new ENI
• Implementing differentiation and the incentive based approach: the EU will better differentiate levels of support by adjusting its assistance to the partner countries' needs and progress, based on clear criteria.
 The incentive based approach, the key aspect of the renewed Neighbourhood policy, will allow the EU to increase its support for those partners who are genuinely implementing deep and sustainable democracy, including respect for human rights, and agreed reform objectives, as assessed in regular progress reports. Streamlining the scope of the Instrument by focussing on a limited number of key policy objectives. This will make EU support more relevant, more aligned with policy priorities and more flexible.
• Streamlining the programming process by reducing its complexity and increasing its focus, especially for ENP partners that have jointly agreed to the EU strategic priorities in Action Plans or equivalent documents. This will further increase efficiency and speed of support provided to ENP partner countries.
• Improving provisions on Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) programmes. These programmes aim at reinforcing cooperation between Member States and partner countries along the external border of the European Union. The revised provisions will facilitate effective and fast implementation.
• Promoting closer links with EU internal instruments and policies; including through promoting mechanisms for the pooling of funds from internal and external instruments of the EU budget. The aim is to enable partner countries and their citizens to participate in successful EU internal programmes in areas such as research and innovation, youth programmes, development of small and medium enterprises and industrial cooperation, while improving the efficiency and simplification of the implementation of assistance.
• Responding to the evolving relationship with Russia by amending Russia’s eligibility for ENI funding to reflect the specific status of Russia as an EU neighbour and strategic partner. As a neighbour, Russia will remain eligible under the ENI for multi-country programmes (including regional cooperation and Erasmus +) and CBC programmes. Bilateral cooperation with Russia under the new MFF will be funded under the new Partnership Instrument, which supports cooperation with EU strategic partners.

Source: ENPI Info Centre

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