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ENEPO — Result In Brief

Project ID: 28736
Funded under: FP6-CITIZENS
Country: Poland

Boosting relations with our Eastern neighbours

The enlarged European Union may have its own set of economic, social and political goals, but it recognises the worth in establishing good bilateral relations with its Eastern neighbours to enhance this cooperation. Towards this end, a team of researchers studied the requirements for improved relations with new independent states of the former USSR.
Boosting relations with our Eastern neighbours
The 'EU Eastern neighborhood: Economic potential and future development' (ENEPO) project was established to investigate the potential of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the EU-Russia strategic partnership for upgrading relations between the enlarged EU and the new independent States (of the former Soviet Union) (NIS). Prior to commencement of the ENEPO project, research efforts and mainstream analysis of trade, investment and labour migration did not include EU cooperation with NIS, also referred to as Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

As such, the EU-funded project focused on labour movement, trade, technical cooperation and investment, as well as expediting economic and governance reforms in NIS. The innovative approach was characterised by an emphasis on mutual interdependence between these areas of cooperation.

Designed to improve knowledge on economic and political relations between the EU and CIS as well as the latter's development problems and challenges, ENEPO also aimed to contribute to policy development and more informed decision-making for all involved. Research and study efforts resulted in many important policy conclusions and recommendations.

With regard to economic development, the study concluded that it is necessary for all CIS countries to continue economic, institutional and political reforms to complete their transition to democratic and liberal market economies. The EU can help in this direction as well as in advancing democratic reform of political systems, by liberalising the movement of people, promoting 'deep' free trade agreements, contributing to institutional learning and offering better-targeted and governed technical assistance, among other forms of developmental aid.

Analyses by ENEPO partners also showed that broad-based deep trade liberalisation can afford CIS exporters with better access to the EU Internal Market and achieve partial institutional harmonisation with EU acquis communautaire. Beyond contributing to an improved business and investment climate in CIS, this approach also has the potential to realise economic, social and political stability in the EU Eastern neighbourhood.

Another key factor is liberalising the movement of people for increased trade in services and cooperation in education, science and culture, to name a few important areas. Opening up the potential for legal migration also stands to benefit the EU in the longer term, given an ageing population and falling birth rate. In the area of energy supply and transit, market-oriented solutions that will help depoliticise the sector are required from both sides for enhanced EU-CIS cooperation.

ENEPO study results clearly point to the benefits of comprehensive market-oriented reforms, liberalisation and integration with a bilateral relations agenda driven by goals aimed at long-term integration and modernisation.

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