May 25, 2011 - 19:07 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - On May 25, Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, and Stefan Fule, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, 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.
Today's proposal by the European External Action Service and the European Commission to Member States and the European Parliament sets out the main priorities and directions of a revitalised ENP strategy, which seeks to strengthen individual and regional relationships between the EU and countries in its neighbourhood through a ‘more funds for more reform’ approach – making more additional funds available, but with more mutual accountability.
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, Ashton announced.
In addition, she said the European Council had agreed to her proposal to increase European Investment Bank (EIB) lending to the Southern Mediterranean by €1 billion over the same period. The EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) also backed her request to extend their operations into the southern Mediterranean region, starting with Egypt. Their expectation is that annual lending volumes could reach around €2.5 billion a year by 2013.
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 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, ENPI Info Center reported.