European Neighbourhood and Partnership
Delivered in Plenary - 17th May 2006
Firstly I would like to congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Szymánski, on the ENPI. The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument – which will replace the existing Tacis and Meda programmes in 2007 – is, in my view, essential to budgetary discipline and procedure. It will cover the Euromed countries of the Barcelona Process and the Western NIS countries, as well as the three Caucasus republics, which currently constitute the European Neighbourhood Policy countries on which I am Parliament’s rapporteur. Like Russia, which is not part of the ENP but enjoys the four Common Spaces, these are all key neighbouring countries whose geopolitical stability and economic prosperity is vital to EU interests. We need to be surrounded by a ring of friends who enjoy free markets, security within their borders and shared values with the European Union, particularly on human rights and democracy-building.
Although generous, the aid provided in these dedicated instruments – in the case of the ENPI it is of the order of EUR 12 billion for the next financial perspective – is less per capita than that granted in the pre-accession process to EU candidate countries. Nevertheless, it is an important contribution in technical assistance and investment in key infrastructure projects, which can complement the work of the EIB and the EBRD.
I also believe that aid and trade privileges must be the carrot that can be coupled to the stick of conditionality as part of the ENP, to ensure that the closer these countries move towards the European Union’s values, the more they can be rewarded in future. The ENPI must remain part of the codecision procedure under Article 179, with suitable monitoring and oversight by our Parliament.
I also welcome the concession by the Commission – and I gather the Council will also fall into line on this – to set up a dedicated instrument for human rights and democracy that will facilitate the EU’s priority support for building greater values of human rights, democracy and freedom in the rest of the world.