ACTION PLAN AS AKEY INSTRUMENT FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICY
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was developed in 2004, with the objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours and of strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all. It is based on the values of democracy, rule of law and respect of human rights. The ENP framework is applied to the 16 of EU’s closest neighbours – Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine. Central to the ENP are the bilateral Action Plans between the EU and each ENP partner (12 of them were agreed) and they are one of the key instruments for the implementation of the ENP. They are country-specific, tailor-made political documents which jointly define an agenda of political and economic sectoral reforms with short and medium-term priorities of 3 to 5 years. The ENP Action Plans reflect each partner’s needs and capacities, as well as their and the EU’s interests. Although the content of each individual Action Plan is tailor-made for each partner country, the structure of each is similar. Each Action Plan contains chapters on: political dialogue and reform, economic and social cooperation and development, trade-related issues, market and regulatory reform, cooperation in Justice, Freedom and Security issues, sectoral issues and human dimension. However, ENP Action Plans are political documents, reflecting political agreements between the EU and partner countries on agenda, objectives and priorities for future relations. These relations are based on, and require apre-existing contractual relationship with the EU — aPartnership and Cooperation Agreement. Action Plans are adopted through the Cooperation Council between the EU and the partner countries. There are no legal sanctions for failure to implement commitments contained in these documents, the consequences would rather be political and/or financial.