What happens in the countries bordering on the EU inevitably impacts upon the EU itself. Meanwhile the challenges faced in these neighbouring countries are often the same as those faced within the EU. The EU's regional polices provide a forum for tackling common challenges and promoting other key policies – from human rights to climate action.
European Neighbourhood Policy
Prosperity, stability and security in the countries to the EU's east and south are in everybody's interests. The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) goes beyond standard trade and cooperation agreements, extending to political association, deeper economic integration, increased mobility and people-to-people contacts. Bilateral action plans are open to any of these countries wishing to deepen relations with the EU. The Eastern Partnership complements the ENP, seeking to improve political and trade relations between the EU and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The Partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean supports practical measures underpinning the transition to democracy in the countries of the Southern Mediterranean.
Black Sea Synergy
In place since 2008, the strategy is stimulating democratic and economic reforms in the Black Sea area while promoting development and encouraging the peaceful resolution of conflicts. A supplementary Environmental Partnership addresses issues such as biodiversity conservation, pollution, eco-innovation and coastal zone/river basin management.
Central Asia Strategy
The strategy is a platform for political dialogue between the EU and five Central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Together, they are looking for solutions to combat drug trafficking and improve border management. Cooperation is also ongoing on education, rule of law, energy, transport, environment and water.
The EU has three (and when Iceland joins, four) Arctic Council states amongst its members. The EU is also a major destination for resources and goods from the Arctic region. Many of its policies and regulations therefore have implications for Arctic stakeholders. EU Arctic policy has three key goals: protecting and preserving the Arctic in collaboration with its population; promoting the sustainable use of resources; strengthening international cooperation. As climate change and economic development accelerate in the region, the EU intends to step up its engagement with its Arctic partners.
Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EUROMED)
The Union for the Mediterranean promotes economic integration and democratic reform across 16 neighbours to the EU's south in North Africa and the Middle East. The EUROMED agenda includes the de-pollution of the Mediterranean Sea, improving maritime and land transport connections, preparing for, preventing and dealing with natural disasters, developing solar energy, a joint university and support for businesses.
Covering a broad geographic area (parts of the Arctic, the Baltic Sea and areas around Russia, Iceland and Greenland), the Northern Dimension is co-owned as a policy by the EU, Norway, Iceland and Russia. Individual 'partnerships' cover the environment, public health and social wellbeing, culture, and transport and logistics.