What happens in the countries in Eastern Europe and the southern Caucasus matters to the EU. As the EU has expanded, these countries have become closer neighbours, and their security, stability and prosperity increasingly affect the EU’s. Closer cooperation between the EU and its eastern European partners is very important for the EU's external relations.
Launched in 2009, the Eastern Partnership is a joint initiative between the EU, EU countries and the eastern European partner countries. It enables partner countries interested in moving towards the EU and increasing political, economic and cultural links to do so. It is underpinned by a shared commitment to international law and fundamental values - democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms - and to the market economy, sustainable development and good governance.
The EU has put forward concrete ideas for each partner country. The aim is to improve relations with individual countries.
On 27 June 2014, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine signed Association Agreements, including on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas. These were ratified by the respective countries’ parliaments and the European Parliament. For Georgia and Moldova, they provisionally entered into force on 1 September 2014.
The Partnership Aims At:
- promoting democracy and good governance
- strengthening energy security
- promoting sector reform and environment protection
- encouraging people-to-people contacts
- supporting economic and social development
- providing additional funding for projects to reduce social inequality and increase stability.
Within the Eastern Partnership there are plenty of funding instruments available for civil society organisations from the region. Financial support is mainly channeled through the Directorate General for Development and Cooperation -EuropeAid (https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/home_en).
The total amount agreed for the EU’s external relations package is €51,419 million over the period 2014-2020. The following financial instruments are of interest:
- Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA): €11,699 million
- European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI): €15,433 million
- Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI): €19,662 million
- Partnership Instrument (PI): €955 million
- Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IfSP): €2,339 million
- European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR): €1,333 million
All projects funded by the different instruments are launched on the EuropeAid website (http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/funding/calls-proposals_en) where you can search open calls for proposals per thematic area or country.
Important background papers to read, are the so called 'country strategy papers' and 'annual action programmes' (https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/node/1099). These documents outline the specific objectives per country in the given funding period.
If you are interested in getting involved in projects related to the Eastern Partnership the EuropeaAid website will provide all necessary information.