MoS & EU neighbours
How does the European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument (ENPI) support the development of Motorways of the Sea projects in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea?
1. What is 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 our neighbours and instead strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all concerned. The EU offers our neighbours a privileged relationship, building upon a mutual commitment to common values (democracy and human rights, rule of law, good governance, market economy principles and sustainable development).
The ENP goes beyond existing relationships to offer a deeper political relationship and economic integration. The level of ambition of the relationship will depend on the extent to which these values are shared. The ENP remains distinct from the process of enlargement although it does not prejudge, for European neighbours, how their relationship with the EU may develop in future, in accordance with Treaty provisions.
The European Neighbourhood Policy applies to the EU's immediate neighbours by land or sea . Its central element is the bilateral ENP Action Plans agreed between the EU and each partner, which set out an agenda of political and economic reforms with short and medium-term priorities. The implementation of the ENP Action Plans is supported by EU funding to the governments of the ENP countries. For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/
2. European Neighbourhood Policy: Funding
From 1 January 2007 onwards, the MEDA and TACIS programmes have been replaced by a single instrument – the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which is much more flexible and policy-driven instrument. It is designed to target sustainable development and approximation to EU policies and standards - supporting the agreed priorities in the ENP Action Plans. For the budgetary period (2007-2013), approximately €12 billion in EC funding is available to support these partners' reforms.
Funds allocated to individual country programmes depend on their needs and absorption capacity as well as their implementation of agreed reforms. Legislative approximation, regulatory convergence and institution-building are being supported through mechanisms which proved successful in transition countries that are now EU Member States i.e. targeted expert assistance (Technical Assistance and Information Exchange - TAIEX), long-term twinning arrangements with EU Member States administrations – national, regional or local – and participation in relevant Community programmes and agencies.
Besides the individual country programmes, the ENPI also finances regional programmes which support sectoral cooperation among the ENP countries themselves. As such, the programmes aim at further establishing economical and political stability at a regional level by means of promoting regional cooperation, cohesion and dialogue. Regional cooperation in the field of transport is one of the important sectors for regional programmes as the establishment of a regional, cross-border transport system is the key to enhancing the flow of trade and of people. For the period 2007-2010 there was €827.6 million available for regional projects for the entire ENPI regional and for all sectors.
3. Motorways of the Sea in the ENP transport cooperation
The first regional Motorways of the Sea programme was initiated in the Mediterranean Sea in 2007 as a technical assistance programme financed by the ENPI for a total of €4.8 million within the framework of the overall EuroMed Transport Programme. This financial aid supports the implementation of technical support for the relevant government and public authorities (e.g. Ministries of Transport, customs authorities, port authorities) of the Neighbourhood countries and the private sector to a more limited extent. As such, the regional programme does not directly finance concrete project proposals, but aims at improving the overall regulatory framework and operational conditions in which Motorways of the Sea could develop.
Within the framework of the programme, different experts have provided a large number of training sessions, workshops and seminars for public officials and private interested companies with the final aim of improving port operations, logistics, and customs processes. The final objective of this assistance is the further integration of short sea shipping, port operations and intermodal hinterland connections into the overall transport system connecting the EU with its Mediterranean neighbours, and among themselves.
Within this regional cooperation programme a number of pilot projects – connecting Mediterranean ports in the Neighbourhood countries with those in the EU – were selected. These projects shall serve as reference model for future Motorways of the Sea in the Mediterranean as they have the capability of developing themselves – with the help of EU assistance - into efficient, regular and intermodal short sea shipping connections. The pilot projects already resulted in tangible successes (including concrete partnership agreements or Memorandum of Agreement between two ports) showing that the technical assistance served as a catalyst for economic and social development.
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The success of this first regional programme has led to a follow-up regional programme of €6 million starting in 2010. This project should largely be a follow-up to the ongoing programme and will use the outcomes of the first programme as main input. The outcome of the first programme also includes general booklets containing good practices and a guidance for developing Motorways of the Seas in the Mediterranean which can be useful for all interested parties, both public and private.
Based on the success of the Mediterranean programme, a similar programme was developed for the Black and Caspian Seas covering the coastal countries around these bodies of water. This programme provides equal technical assistance to the public authorities of the countries and also aims at implementing pilot projects along the so-called TRACECA corridor (the Transport Corridor connecting Europe-Caucasus-Central Asia or the "New Silk Road"). Although the programme started only in 2009, it has already facilitated concrete cross-border discussions on reducing port tariffs for large fixed volumes of cargo with a view of facilitating the general freight flow on the TRACECA corridor. A follow-up programme for the Eastern Neighbourhood is currently under preparation.
4. Financing opportunities
Up to now, the Motorways of the Sea programmes for the Neighbourhood countries are general technical assistance programmes for the benefit of the governments of the relevant countries implemented through service contracts. Tenders for these contracts are open to companies from the 27 EU Member States, from the candidate and potential candidate countries and from ENP partners themselves and are awarded in line with standard EC procurement rules. The calls can be found on the EuropeAid website.
Financial support to concrete and individual Motorways of the Sea project proposals including port development/expansion and investments in vessels covering Neighbourhood countries are until now mainly covered by the relevant instruments of the EIB.