The EU and its partners
Sharing standards and values
The EU has been relying on a systematic European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) since 2004. This instrument forms the basis on which the EU structures its relations with the 16 neighbouring countries both to the south of the EU territory – namely Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestine Territories, Tunisia and (in part suspended) Libya – and to the east with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and the Ukraine.
The first group of nations comes under the heading of the “ Euro Euro The euro is the currency of the European Monetary Union and after the US dollar the second most important member of the international currency system. Together with the national central banks, the European Central Bank (ECB), headquartered in Frankfurt/Main, is responsible for monetary policy… Read more › -Mediterranean Partnership”, while the latter group comprises the “Eastern Partnership”. Under the umbrella of the ENP both groups have their own committees and sets of objectives, whereby the underlying idea is the same in both cases: to forge closer ties and share standards and values.
Create stable conditions
The ENP is not to be confused with the EU’s enlargement agenda. The ENP makes no preliminary decisions about possible accession to the EU, but rather is an instrument for maintaining favourable relations with neighbouring countries and in this way stable conditions in the immediate vicinity. In the process, the European Union European Union In 1957, the Federal Republic was one of the six founder members of the current European Union (EU). Since 2013, the EU has consisted of 28 member states and the euro is the official tender in 19 of them. Germany contributes about 20% to the EU budget. Günther Oettinger (CDU), the former Prime… Read more › offers its neighbours a privileged partnership under the condition that both sides commit to the values of democracy and human rights Human rights The respect and strengthening of human rights worldwide are a cornerstone of German Federal Government policy. Together with its EU partners it is committed to protecting and continually advancing human rights standards throughout the world. This occurs in close collaboration with the institutions… Read more › , the rule of law, responsible governance, the principles of the market economy, and sustainable development.
The partnership also includes regular political exchange, intensive economic cooperation, and stronger mobility from and into the EU. Together with each country, the EU regularly devises a bilateral Action Plan and specifies priorities for political and economic reforms.
The ENP also supports the realization of these Action Plans by providing financial assistance and technical cooperation. In this context, the ENP is based on the principle of “more for more”: Anyone purposefully driving the expansion of democratic reforms and liberal societies receives more funding. How much financing will be available in the next few years for the ENP depends on the EU’s multi-annual financial framework (MFF) which the Union is currently negotiating for the 2021-2027 period and where much has still to be decided. The negotiations are scheduled to be concluded by the end of 2020 and thus during Germany’s EU Council Presidency.
Cooperation with Africa and China
During Germany’s EU Council Presidency, the European Union European Union In 1957, the Federal Republic was one of the six founder members of the current European Union (EU). Since 2013, the EU has consisted of 28 member states and the euro is the official tender in 19 of them. Germany contributes about 20% to the EU budget. Günther Oettinger (CDU), the former Prime… Read more › is also seeking to resolve a new EU-Africa strategy in order to take the partnership to “a new level”, as Commission President Ursula von der Leyen put it. This will centre around offers to support Africa, with the aim of triggering a digital and climate-friendly upturn on the continent. The intention is likewise to sign off the new strategy before the end of Germany’s Council Presidency. Brussels and Berlin Berlin Once a year, during the Berlinale film festival, the world of the silver screen focuses its attention on Berlin. And the city’s inhabitants are used to global interest. After all, the people of Berlin have lived in a capital city since 1458. However, there is also a shady side to the city’s history… Read more › view Africa as a strategic partner in coming years, and European-African relations therefore as an important element for a successful and expanded neighbourhood policy. Whether the EU-Africa summit will still be held in the autumn is uncertain given the Coronavirus pandemic.
Another foreign policy aspect to be continued during Germany’s Council Presidency is the Union’s dialogue with China. The plan is to swiftly rearrange to hold the EU-China summit, which was scheduled for mid-September in Leipzig and has likewise been postponed owing to COVID-19. Key topics to be addressed are conclusion of an investment treaty, progress in climate protection, and mutual relations with Africa. Moreover, the dialogue with China also focusses on questions of the rule of law and human rights Human rights The respect and strengthening of human rights worldwide are a cornerstone of German Federal Government policy. Together with its EU partners it is committed to protecting and continually advancing human rights standards throughout the world. This occurs in close collaboration with the institutions… Read more › .