Many of the challenges partner countries face are shared ones and are usefully addressed by all partners together. Multilateral cooperation under the Eastern Partnership involves the EU institutions, the interested Member states and the 6 EaP partner countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. It takes place across a wide array of issues, ranging from democracy, good governance and stability to economic issues, energy security and contacts between people. This work is guided by four thematic platforms, supported by various expert panels, flagship initiatives and projects.
Platform 1. Democracy, good governance and stability
Eastern Partnership (EaP) promotes democratic principles, good governance and stability by improving key sectors of governance in areas such as public administration, civil service, judiciary, management of state borders, fight against corruption, elections, Asylum & Migration, Common Security and Defence Policy, Civil protection, police cooperation or cybercrime. Eastern Partnership Platform on Democracy, Good Governance and Stability works to inspire and encourage appropriate reforms by learning form others or by means of concrete and targeted pilot projects.
- In strengthening the Civil service, the EU is working together with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is providing an expert counsel to the partners on new legislation, and with the EU member states that are assisting with lessons learned from their national angle. In the area of the fight against corruption, the European Commission with the Council of Europe are advising the partner countries in areas such as asset declarations, irregular financing of political parties or electoral campaigns or protection of whistle-blowers. As regards the Justice reform, activities focus on improving the independence, efficiency and professionalism of the judicial systems through targeted trainings of lawyers and judges.
- In the area of Civil protection, partner countries are gradually getting closer to being associated with the EU Civil protection mechanism. In addition, the six partner countries can make use of a state of the art man-made and natural disasters' Electronic Risk Atlas helping them to increase prevention and quick response.
Border Management initiative trains hundreds of officials from the partner countries in skills linked to safer and more efficient border controls as regards persons and goods. The EU Agency Frontex has been instrumental in this regard. It managed to deliver important small infrastructure to border guards and customs officers in order to make the joint border operation and coordinated patrolling possible.
Police programme strengthens cooperation between EU member states' and EaP police authorities and among eastern partners themselves in fighting serious transnational and cross border crime, such as trafficking in human beings, drug trafficking, economic crime, counterfeit goods, terrorism or cybercrime.
- In the area of Common Security and Defence policy the EU supports the interested partner countries in their efforts to participate in EU led missions and operations. The EU also shares experience with them on engagement in international crisis management and peacekeeping activities as well as on overall security sector reform.
Platform 2. Economic integration and convergence with EU policies
Eastern Partnership promotes smart, sustainable and inclusive development of a free market economy in the partner countries. This area is of crucial importance for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, partners having signed Association Agreements including Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (AA/DCFTAs), but economic cooperation with the EU and the streamlining of sectoral policies is just as important for Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus. Cooperation in the areas of trade, business environment, a modern, social and environmentally friendly economy provides for growth and employment.
- On Transport, cooperation aims at strengthening transport connections between the EU and partner countries. It assists partner countries in preparing and implementing priority infrastructure projects on the Eastern Partnership transport network, exchange best practice on innovative infrastructure financing, efficient traffic management systems and increased transport safety and security.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) are key for a sustainable economic development and the cooperation in this area aims at applying EU best practices. It includes such issues as women entrepreneurship, regulatory impact assessment, business infrastructure, access to finance and innovation, promotion of green technologies and eco-innovation. EU finances a number of projects in support to SMEs in the region. EaP Business Forum engages the business community, strengthens business to business contacts and cooperation between SMEs in EU Member States and partner countries. Partner countries are increasingly participating in the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME).
- Cooperation in Environment and Climate Change facilitates exchanges on best practices on environmental impact assessments, waste reduction and recycling, air pollution, biodiversity and water management. Dialogue on climate change policies enables closer cooperation with EU Member States in global climate negotiations. Cooperation helps to modernise and simplify the collection, exchange and use of data for designing and implementing environmental policy. It supports partner countries shifting to a greener economy.
- In the area of Trade and related regulatory cooperation, cooperation focuses on quality infrastructure, technical regulations and standards, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and customs. Discussions of SPS and the exchange of experience between Food Safety Agencies from EU Member States and partner countries’ Food Safety Agencies, Customs Trade Facilitation Training for Young Customs Managers, Commercial Attaché Training focused on export promotion and foreign direct investment (FDI) are just a few examples of concrete project activities.
- Cooperation on Agriculture and Rural Development is using the experience accumulated in the EU Member States to support the development and the implementation of modern, viable, sustainable long-term agricultural and rural development strategies. It addresses issues such as fragmented land holdings, building a rural development policy, increase the professionalism and training in rural communities, developing the phytosanitary-veterinary food safety system and gradual update of technology and appropriate infrastructure.
Statistics has become a new are of cooperation since 2015. It aims to strengthen the capacity of the Eastern European partner countries to provide relevant and timely statistical information as a basis for good governance and sound decision making, better monitoring the effectiveness of implemented policies.
- On Information Society and Media, the Network of Electronic Communication Regulators has been strengthened and a study is under way on the Harmonisation of the Digital Markets, including issues such as sharing of infrastructure for electronic communications networks, e-Signature and e-Government.
Platform 3. Energy Security
Cooperation on Energy Security addresses diversification of electricity, gas and oil interconnections, as well as energy efficiency and renewable energy.
- Development of electricity, gas and oil interconnections contributes to integration of European energy markets. Integrated energy markets allow for an increased competitiveness, diversification of energy supply sources and transit routes, and lead to an enhancement of the overall energy security of supply. In addition, they facilitate the integration of variable renewable energy sources into the energy system.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy, if exploited to their full potential, contribute significantly to energy security by decreasing dependency on imported fossil fuels. They also help converting energy intensive economies into low-carbon economies. At the same time, integrating large electric generation capacities powered by variable renewable sources in the energy system requires to adapt the generation, the transmission and the distribution systems.
- Establishment and strengthening a regulatory framework in nuclear safety contributes to safe use of nuclear energy in partner countries where nuclear energy is part of their energy mix. The EU and Partner Countries have a common interest for a high level of nuclear safety. Concerned partner countries do participate in nuclear safety stress tests and the EU updates on the latest developments and legal initiatives in the area of nuclear safety and radioactive waste management.
Platform 4. People-to-people contacts
More interaction between EU citizens and those of partner countries is significant for bringing partner countries closer to the EU. The work in this area focuses in particular on students, teachers, researchers, young people, artists and cultural professionals. The key objectives of Platform 4 are to increase participation of EaP countries in EU international cooperation programmes, strengthen capacity to implement reforms and increase cooperation and exchange good practice between EU and partners` education and training authorities, higher education and research institutions, youth and cultural organisations.
- The work of the Platform 4 complements the agreements and actions on bilateral level (e.g. Association Agreements and Agendas) and number of EU international cooperation programmes in the areas of education and youth (Erasmus+), culture and media (Creative Europe) and research and innovation (Horizon 2020 and Marie Skłodowska-Curie). Information campaigns are organised to raise awareness on the cooperation programmes and the opportunities offered to the EaP countries.
- As of 2014 a wide range of activities in the fields of education, training, youth and sport are available through Erasmus+ providing learning mobility, opportunities to build partnerships and deliver system reforms. E-Twinnig programme for schools and support from the European Training Foundation are available in the field of vocational education and training. It has become a custom for young people from the Eastern Partnership region to meet at the Youth Forum. On 9-11 February the 2nd Eastern Partnership Youth Forum took place in Riga, Latvia and discussions were focused how to reduce youth unemployment by boosting cross-sectorial cooperation at a local, national and international level.
- Culture and audiovisual sector has been facilitated within the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme I and II. Participation in Creative Europe programme and Study facility fosters cooperation of artists and culture professionals and promote the policy development in partner countries.
- In the field of research and innovation, the participation of EaP researchers and research organisations has increased. The Panel on Research and Innovation was established to facilitate coordination between EU and partner countries` policies and programmes (e.g. Horizon 2020, Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions) to share information and best practices. An official launch event of the Horizon 2020 for the EaP countries was organised on 17 March 2014 in Chisinau where six EaP countries presented their national research and innovation strategies and priorities.
- Work on information and communication technologies focuses on mapping EaP stakeholders, identifying research potential and priorities in the eastern European region, organising training and assistance and improving the policy dialogue between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries on information and communication technologies.
- The development of the EPIC initiative for a regional cooperation on e-infrastructures in the field of research and education networking is ongoing. The interconnection between the EaP NReNs (National Research and Education Networks) and with GEANT would establish virtual scientific communities between the EU and EaP countries for strengthening scientific cooperation.
Multilateral Platforms - 2014-2017
Multilateral Platforms - 2012-2013
See also: [21 KB]
If you have questions about the Eastern Partnership, please contact us at mailto:EEAS-EASTERN-PARTNERSHIP@eeas.europa.eu