57 European Neighbourhood Policy |
+ ADDs 1, 3-8, 10-13
|Commission Communication: Taking stock of the European Neighbourhood Policy|
Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication: Sectoral Progress Report.
Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication: Progress Reports on Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the occupied Palestinian Territory and Egypt.
|Documents originated||12 May 2010
|Deposited in Parliament||3 June 2010
|Department||Foreign and Commonwealth Office
|Basis of consideration||EM of 21 June 2010
|Previous Committee Report||None; but see (30615) 9029/09: HC 19- xviii (2008-09), chapter 17 (3 June 2009)
|To be discussed in Council||To be determined
|Committee's assessment||Politically important
57.1 The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) aims to promote security,
stability and prosperity among the EU's neighbours through implementation
of political and economic reforms. It applies, in the East, to
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, and,
in the South, to Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya,
Morocco, the Occupied Palestinian Authority, Syria and Tunisia.
Bilateral Action Plans detail the planned reforms agreed between
the EU and partner countries (Algeria, Belarus, Libya and Syria,
while covered by ENP, do not participate fully in it and do not
have agreed Action Plans). In addition to these bilateral components,
ENP comprises a number of regional and multilateral initiatives
including the Eastern Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean.
The Commission Communication
57.2 In its introduction, the Commission says that the ENP has
transformed relations between the EU and its neighbours. The picture
is painted thus: that since its launch in 2004, political contacts
have increased in profile and intensity; trade has increased at
double digit rates, aided by a steady process of liberalisation
and regulatory convergence; EU assistance has been tailored to
partners' reform needs; and its volume in the current Financial
Framework has increased by 32 %.
57.3 However, the Commission says:
"[M]uch remains to be done if the ENP's goals
of shared stability, security and prosperity are to be achieved.
The Lisbon Treaty recognises this by committing the EU to the
development of a special relationship with neighbouring countries
aiming at establishing an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness
(Art. 8 TEU). The policy will also benefit from greater consistency,
coherence and coordination of the Union's external policy brought
about by the appointment of the High Representative/Vice-President
and establishment of the European External Action Service, as
well as from the appointment of a Commissioner with a specific
regional mandate allowing him to devote extra attention to the
ENP and the countries it covers. Against this background, the
Commission, at the outset of this new term, considered it useful
to take stock of the progress achieved since the launch of the
policy. The analysis presented here will serve to guide the further
development of the ENP, to make best use of the new possibilities
opened by the Lisbon Treaty and to optimize the ENP's contribution
to the EU's longer-term objectives, including the 2020 agenda."
57.4 The Communication takes stock under a number
of two broad headings Bilateral Cooperation and Multilateral
Cooperation. Under the former, the Commission surveys developments
and challenges in
governance and addressing protracted conflicts;
shared responsibility for the environment;
together to address climate change
energy for citizens and industry; and
instruments responding to policy objectives.
57.5 The Commission then briefly reviews related
Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, which began in 1995;
Union for the Mediterranean, launched in 2008 to give it "a
Eastern Partnership, launched in May 2009, "in response to
the interest of eastern partners to come closer to the EU and
to create the necessary conditions to accelerate political association
and further economic integration"; and
Black Sea Synergy, launched in 2008 and which "reflects the
EU's growing interest in promoting regional cooperation around
the Black Sea", incorporating Bulgaria, Greece and Romania
and other regional partners.
57.6 The implementation of the ENP is supported by
the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) with
a budget of some 11.5 billion (2007-13). The Commission
says that, after a mid-term review of ENPI programming documents
"conducted in cooperation with partner countries and
taking into account the result of an unprecedentedly wide consultative
process involving civil society, EU Member States and other donors"
country allocations better reflect the needs, the levels
of ambition and progress and the absorption capacity of partners.
57.7 The Staff Working Documents annexed to this
Communication set out in more detail the implementation of the
ENP both sectorally, and with each partner, and areas that continue
to require action.
The Government's view
57.8 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 21 June 2010,
the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) considers the Communication
and accompanying progress reports "crucial to the ENP process
because they constitute an annual evaluation of the progress made
against agreed commitments." The Communication "helpfully
sets ENP in the broader political context."
57.9 The Minister notes that, in considering last
year's progress reports, the previous Committee commented on the
need for effective resource allocation in support of the ENP's
policy priorities and for the ENP to be more effective in leveraging
human rights and justice reforms, and says that he has "commented
on these issues throughout the Explanatory Memorandum". He
does so as follows:
"We are pleased that while economic development
has slowed down as a result of the global economic downturn, the
economic reform agenda remains in place. Action Plan objectives
designed to support growth, such as improving access to financial
services important to enterprises, continue to be implemented.
Progress on democracy, human rights and freedom of expression,
however, was disappointing. Accession to human rights conventions
advanced but implementation requires much improvement.
"We are pleased that, as last year, the Commission
have included objective measures of progress to underpin their
findings. Within the appendices to the Sectoral Progress Report
are indices detailing performance on governance, macro-economic
situation, mobility under youth and skilling programmes, twinning
projects and investment operations.
"We will continue to work closely with colleagues
in DfID and UKRep through fora such as the ENPI
Management Committee and COEST working group, to
support the Commission in ensuring that funding is directed towards
encouraging political and institutional reform. We work with
partners across government in ensuring UK policy is reflected
in multilateral fora such as the Eastern Partnership thematic
"We attach particular importance to the development
of the regional initiatives (the Eastern Partnership and Union
for the Mediterranean). We remain fully engaged in negotiations
on Association Agreements with individual partner countries and
successors to existing Actions Plans. We are also keen to support
technically the development of the Eastern Partnership's new Comprehensive
Institution Building (CIB) programme to deliver on approximation
in, for example, justice system reforms, as a concrete way of
integrating Eastern partners with the EU.
"We attach particular importance to the development
of the regional initiatives (the Eastern Partnership and Union
for the Mediterranean). We shall also be fully engaged in negotiations
on Association Agreements and successor Actions Plans."
57.10 The Minister then comments on the sectoral
"Progress on trade and economic integration
was made in 2009, including negotiations on the Deep and Comprehensive
Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with Ukraine and on the trade-related
aspect of the framework agreement with Libya. A feasibility study
on DCFTA negotiations with Moldova was completed in 2009 and preparatory
work with Georgia and Armenia continued. Agreements on further
liberalisation of trade in agricultural and fish products were
entered into with Israel and Egypt. The Palestinian Authority
adopted the Pan-Euro Mediterranean protocol on rules of origin.
Israel, Morocco, Tunisia and Moldova have already implemented
much of their Action Plans' customs-related commitments. The implementation
of World Trade Organisation-compatible customs valuations rules
remains problematic. In particular Ukraine and Georgia need to
strengthen capacity in that their customs administrations for
verification of origin. Georgia has begun some work on this by
involving customs in the issue of preferential origin certificates.
Effective progress on an ambitious DCFTA with Ukraine is a key
priority for the UK. Expanding potential for free trade and investment
is a fundamental area in which we can work with countries on sustainable
"Visa facilitation and readmission agreements
with the EU with both Ukraine and Moldova were implemented successfully
and underpin UK returns policy to these countries. UKBA has a
good working relationship with both countries, and co-operation
on returns is good. Work on a similar agreement with Georgia has
begun with conclusion anticipated in 2010. UKBA view increased
focus on capacity building for ENP partners' border management
capabilities as a priority, to help prevent illegal migration
transiting through partner countries. We welcome forthcoming Eastern
Partnership CIB work in continuing to tackle the issue. EU Schengen
Area visa liberalisation remains a long-term goal for partners.
A structured dialogue with Ukraine on this is taking place and
may serve as a model for other partners. Progress will hinge on
the realisation by Ukraine of necessary conditions.
JUSTICE, FREEDOM AND SECURITY ISSUES
"In many countries legislative frameworks for
elections and their conduct do not comply with international standards.
Exceptions to this include Ukraine and Moldova whose recent elections
met most international standards. In the South, Lebanon and the
Occupied Palestinian Territory received EU Electoral Observations
Missions but were the only Southern countries to do so. Investment
was made in improving capacity and efficiency of the judiciary
but judicial independence and effectiveness remain of concern
in most countries. All countries with Action Plans completed ratification
of the UN Convention against Corruption, but indicators show deterioration
over the period in a number of countries. Most partners continued
implementation of national strategies to combat money laundering
and the financing of terrorism, incorporating the 40 + 9 Financial
Action Task Force recommendations.
"But weaknesses remain in implementation and
advising financial institutions on their due diligence obligations.
The Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure
and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing
of Terrorism (the Warsaw Convention) has not been ratified by
Ukraine and not signed or ratified by Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Partners did not ratify the 1997 protocol to the Second Additional
European Convention in Criminal Matters although Armenia has signed
the protocol. Good progress was made in capacity building within
relevant authorities and law enforcement agencies in the fight
against drugs. We will continue to urge that efforts are focused
in this area through, for example, Eastern Partnership multilateral
work on fighting corruption and CIB. Encouraging good governance
is a key UK objective as the foundation of political stability
and economic growth, our core aims for the region.
ENERGY SECURITY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENT
"We support ENP as one of the EU's important
tools for ensuring better energy relations with our neighbours.
Progress has been achieved. The Eastern Partnership began work
under its Energy Security heading in 2009, promoting mutual support
and security mechanisms as well as energy efficiency and an increased
use of renewable resources. Work also focuses on partner harmonisation
with the acquis with steps being taken towards convergence with
energy market rules. In December 2009 the accession of Moldova
and Ukraine to the Energy Community was approved, subject to certain
conditions on Ukraine relating to reform of its gas sector and
a satisfactory assessment of the level of nuclear safety in all
its operating nuclear plants. Moldova became a full member of
the Energy Community on 1 May 2010. In October 2009 Ukraine approved
a plan for the modernization and reequipment of the gas transport
system from 2009-2015. Partners in the region continued to support
the development of a Southern gas corridor to bring gas and oil
from the Caspian and Central Asia to Europe. In the South, work
continued on regulatory convergence and on an Egypt-Libya gas
pipe. Algeria pursued construction of a gas connection with Spain
and a link with Italy. Continuing EU-level engagement is key to
ensuring the EU's, and therefore the UK's, energy security. The
Commission continued to support partners in implementing the Kyoto
Protocol. Algeria, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Israel, Jordan,
Moldova, Morocco, Tunisia and Ukraine associated themselves with
the Copenhagen Accord. The Commission will continue to urge remaining
partners to associate themselves with the Copenhagen Accord as
soon as possible and to provide information on what actions they
will implement and we welcome this focus."
57.11 The Minister then turns to the Country Progress
Reports, where he says that, in general, he shares the Commission's
broad analysis of progress, and has the following particular comments:
"Work on furthering contractual relations with
Armenia progressed in 2009, both bilaterally and multilaterally
through the Eastern Partnership. Outside the period covered by
the report but of pertinence, negotiating directives for an Association
Agreement were adopted by the EU in 2010. Negotiations on a DCFTA
will start once conditions have been met. The first meeting of
the EU-Armenia Human Rights Dialogue took place in December 2009
and we hope this will provide a forum for future constructive
engagement in this area.
"Armenia made general progress in their Action
Plan objectives and took some steps to address the political crisis
which followed the Presidential elections in February 2008, although
we believe there remains a need to resolve the issue of those
who remain in detention and for a proper investigation into the
10 deaths that occurred before the country can move on fully.
The global economic situation led to economic regression in the
country and although the country responded with measures to mitigate
its effects the resulting reduction in state revenues has impacted
negatively on the reform process. We shall continue to work closely
with the Commission and EU to encourage Armenia to engage further
on its ENP Action Plan reforms.
"Outside the period covered by its report but
of pertinence, negotiating directives for an Association Agreement
were adopted by the EU in May 2010. Azerbaijan achieved some progress
in the implementation of its Action Plan, specifically in economic
and social governance. The country was not impacted upon radically
by the global economic crisis which meant it was able to increase
social agenda spending and investment. However, we share the Commission's
view that further reform in the justice sector, strengthening
of the rule of law and fighting corruption is required. Serious
concerns remain over human rights, particularly freedom of expression
and media freedom.
"The overall strengthening of EU-Azerbaijan
relations was enhanced by Azerbaijan's engagement through the
bilateral aspect of the Eastern Partnership. In particular, good
co-operation was made with the EU in the energy field including
Azerbaijan's support for development of the Southern gas corridor.
However, progress on negotiations for Azerbaijan's accession to
the World Trade Organisation was limited. Without WTO accession,
it will not be possible to begin negotiations on a DCFTA.
"Outside the remit the period covered by the
report but of pertinence, negotiating directives for an Association
Agreement with Georgia were adopted by the EU in May 2010. During
2009 first drafts of DCFTA strategic reform plans were prepared.
The Commission note that by deploying additional efforts to complete,
adopt and begin implementing the agreed reform plans Georgia will
be ready to start DCFTA negotiations.
"Georgia made particular progress in rule of
law, reform of the justice system, the fight against corruption
and trade facilitation and business climate. The country will
need to continue its democratic reform efforts if it is to achieve
genuine political pluralism. Polarisation of political life in
Georgia and concerns about media freedom remain obstacles to political
reform. Work is also required on poverty reduction, employment
and social policy and agricultural development including sanitary
and phyto-sanitary issues.
"The report also covers the EU's engagement
with regard to the Georgian conflicts. The EU continues to play
an active role as a co-chair, together with the UN and the OSCE,
for the `Geneva talks' process of dialogue aimed at eventual conflict
resolution. The EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) is the only international
body monitoring the situation along the Administrative Boundary
Lines with Abkhazia and South Ossetia (albeit only from one side)
and plays an important role in reducing tensions and maintaining
international attention on the conflict.
"Elections in April 2009 were disputed. Street
riots, including attacks on the Parliament building and Presidential
Palace were met with significant violation of human rights and
freedom of expression by government forces. Repeat elections in
July resulted in the formation of a new parliamentary majority
coalition but the parliament was not able to elect a president.
This uncertainty affected EU-Moldova relations for much of the
year. The appointment of a new government led to improved relations
in the last quarter of 2009 and we note efforts to implement structural
reforms identified in Moldova's Action Plan in the latter part
of 2009. Further commitment to Action Plan priorities is needed
to prevent violations of human rights and freedoms. Proper implementation
of legislation and reform of the judiciary and rule of law is
also required. These are priority areas for the new government.
"Moldova carried out structural reforms to counter
the negative impact of economic crisis which badly affected the
country in late 2008 and a feasibility study of the future establishment
of a DCFTA was finalised in July 2009. Outside the period covered
by its report but of relevance, negotiation directives for a new
EU-Moldova agreement were adopted in January 2010.
"The Commission rightly notes disappointingly
slow implementation of reform during 2009. This was partly due
to the difficult working relationship between President Yushchenko
and Prime Minister Tymoshenko, and the pre-election period. Some
progress was made on Association Agreement negotiations and this
will be a priority for 2010. Co-operation on energy issues intensified
following the Ukraine-Russia gas dispute in January 2009, which
disrupted the supply of gas to the EU via Ukraine.
"In December 2009 approval was given for Ukraine's
accession to the Energy Community Treaty subject to the adoption
of a suitable domestic gas law. Ukraine continued to support the
work of the EU Border Assistance Mission in Moldova. Ukraine also
continued to align with the majority of the EU's CFSP declarations.
"As one of the big players in the Middle East,
Egypt is of key strategic importance to the EU and the UK and
is essential to any solution on many of our foreign policy priorities.
Egypt is also an important partner on trade and energy security
the EU represents nearly 34% of Egypt's total trade with
the world and is Egypt's first trading partner. The UK is the
largest foreign direct investor in Egypt.
"We welcome Egypt's commitment to enhancing
relations with the EU and the progress indicated in the Commission's
report during 2009 in social, economic and sector reforms. However,
further commitment to the implementation of reforms in democracy
and human rights is fundamental to the fulfillment of the current
Action Plan, which remains the basis of Egypt's relationship with
the EU. Fulfillment of the whole Action Plan is key to progress
and any potential upgrade.
"Outside of the period of this report but of
relevance, the government-imposed state of emergency in Egypt
was extended from 1 June 2010 for a further 2 years, although
it is now limited to fighting terrorism (and its financing) and
drug-related crimes. We agree that the persisting state of emergency,
which allows for the unwarranted derogation of some of Egypt's
human rights obligations, remains a cause for concern and disappointment.
We continue to call for an end to the state of emergency and urge
Egypt to ensure that any new counter-terrorism legislation complies
with international standards on human rights and fundamental freedoms.
"We welcome the continued EU assistance in 2009,
particularly for health care reforms. It is important that ENP
funding directly focus on supporting Egypt in its reforms towards
fulfillment of the Action Plan, particularly on human rights and
"Bilateral relations between EU-Israel remained
strong in 2009. Israel remains active under the ENP framework
and implemented a number of Action Plan priorities, including
entering into agreement with the EU on agricultural and fish products
in November 2009 and the implementation of four Twinning projects.
However, upgrading of relations was affected by a worsening political
context, in particular the Gaza conflict and a lack of progress
in the Middle East Peace Process. Israel's military operations
have given rise to international humanitarian law violations.
The Council concluded that the EU remained committed to upgrading
relations with Israel through the ENP but the political situation
was not conducive to this.
"By mutual consent the 2005 Action Plan remains
the reference document for EU-Israel relations and its validity
has been extended to 2010.
"Jordan continues to be a constructive ENP partner.
The report describes mixed progress: some progress was made on
human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the fight against
human trafficking. Good progress was made on justice reform and
work progressed on penal reform, transparency, corruption, liberalising
the economy in limited sectors. However, improvements in the business
environment, trade and alleviating the growing poverty gap are
required. We fully support Jordan's aspiration for an enhanced
relationship and an intensified dialogue with the EU on common
political and security challenges.
"Progress was made in electoral reform and Lebanon
was one of only 2 countries in the South to invite an EU Election
Observation Mission to its parliamentary elections in June 2009.
The elections were in general deemed peaceful and well-organised
but the subsequent negotiations on the forming of a government
took 5 months. The protracted period of discussions led to a standstill
in reform. However, in October 2009 the Commission held a conference
in Beirut with representatives of Government, civil society, the
private sector and EU. The next step is to take this co- operation
"The English version of the progress report
is awaited. We agree broadly with the Commission's assessment.
Democracy and human rights reform plans are relatively unambitious
but nevertheless some concrete progress was made within these
constraints; a new electoral code reinforces the participation
of women and work has begun in the fight against corruption.
"However, fundamental weaknesses in the legal
system are likely to undermine the legislative reform work which
has begun. On migration, work on readmission agreements did not
progress as hoped. Reform of the justice system is therefore a
key challenge as is the improvement of the climate for business.
Obstacles in freedom of expression of the press remain and several
demonstrations were dispersed violently. Poverty has been reduced
slightly and advances in healthcare have been achieved but in
general the social agenda remains a huge challenge.
"The Commission's focus on improving Morocco's
poor social indicators and reducing poverty fits in well with
HMG's CT priority for North Africa. It is believed that poor social
inclusion was one of the key factors behind the 2003 and 2007
home grown terrorist incidents in Casablanca.
OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY (OPTS)
"The Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs)
has made increasing use of the ENP in strengthening its state-building
work. The EU supported its `Palestine, Ending the Occupation and
Establishing the State' 2-year programme, adopted in 2009, while
giving priority to the institutional reform detailed in the Palestinian
Reform and Development Plan for 2008-2010. Work has begun on a
plan for 2011-2013, the `Palestinian National Plan' which is expected
to translate PM Fayyad's state-building plan into concrete priorities
and which will be the basis for a new ENP Action Plan and is evidence
of progress on reform and political dialogue with the EU.
"In general, nonetheless, we agree with the
Commission that the ability of the OPT to implement reforms remains
seriously limited as a result of the on-going Israeli occupation.
The Gaza conflict between December 2008 and January 2009 destroyed
its economic and institutional structures and worsened divisions
in the Palestinian factions. Despite calls from the international
community for full opening of crossings for humanitarian and commercial
traffic the situation has continued. We share the EU objective
of the creation of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian
"The English version of the progress report
is still awaited. We broadly agree with the Commission's assessment
that progress has been made, but more work is needed. Economic
and legislative reform helped the Tunisian economy achieve 3%
growth, despite the global economic situation. The country continued
its social agenda efforts and achieved good progress in social
benefits, education, the fight against poverty and the protection
of women's rights.
"However, the report highlights that problems
regarding freedom of association persist. Presidential elections
took place during 2009 and candidates from the opposition were
not given full rights of visibility and public debate. Action
Plan objectives were not achieved and there is a need for strengthened
dialogue with the EU. Discussions will continue in the relevant
57.12 The Minister concludes by noting that these
documents have no financial implications, and that there may be
ENP conclusions at July's Foreign Affairs Council meeting.
57.13 In the strictest sense, the Minister is
correct in saying that these documents themselves have no financial
implications. But the ENP itself certainly does: some 11.5
billion of European taxpayers' money in the current financial
57.14 Though launched two years ago as (in the
then Minister for Europe's words) a "strategic refresh"
of the moribund Euro-Med process, the Union for the Mediterranean
has spent the subsequent two years bogged down in bureaucratic
wrangling and the wider Middle East conflict. Though only a year
old, the Eastern Partnership was one partner short from the outset
due to the democratic failings of the regime in Belarus.
57.15 While in introducing this "stock take",
the Enlargement Commissioner talked of the EU's "transformative
soft power spreading stability and prosperity beyond the enlargement
area", the jury is still out on the extent to which the incentives
offered under the ENP do and will drive reform in places where
the local political elites are not already committed to it. As
the Commission itself observes when it sums up its stock take,
"the pace of progress is determined by the degree to which
partners have been willing to undertake the necessary reforms,
and more has been achieved in the economic sphere, notably trade
and regulatory approximation, than in the area of democratic governance.
However, the pace of progress also depends on the benefits that
partners can expect within a reasonable time frame. Here the extent
to which the EU has been willing to engage itself with the partnership
has also had, and will continue to have, a significant effect."
57.16 At the end of the July Foreign Affairs Council
Conclusions on the ENP, the Council invited the High Representative
and the Commission, on the basis of the Commission Communication,
"to initiate a reflection on the future implementation of
the ENP and conduct consultations to this end inside the Union
and with ENP partners, in view of a comprehensive discussion by
the Council in the first half of 2011." We ask that the Minister
deposits whatever document is presented to the Council prior to
this discussion, with his views on it.
57.17 In the meantime, we now clear the documents.
243 The Minister explains that the progress reports
on Morocco and Tunisia have not been deposited in parliament yet
as only the French version exists, and says that he will provide
an Addendum when the English texts become available. Back
For the Committee's consideration of the Eastern Partnership,
see chapter 62 of this Report. Back
The ENP conclusions are at pages 15 and 16 of the Conclusions
of the 26 July 2010 Foreign Affairs Council, available at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/115976.pdf.