Better cooperation and connectivity with Europe’s Eastern and Southern neighbours

17.01.2024 12:33

Better cooperation and connectivity with Europe’s Eastern and Southern neighbours

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The EPP Group wants better economic cooperation and infrastructure connectivity at the EU’s external borders. “In the current geopolitical context, strengthening our partnership with neighbouring states on the eastern border becomes essential for the stability and prosperity of the entire region. Also, the fragile political and security situation in North Africa and the migration crisis highlight the need for cooperation in the Mediterranean basin. We have a moral obligation to support neighbouring countries in their efforts for economic and social development and to avoid the creation of new frontiers for democracy," says Daniel Buda MEP, who drafted the Parliament's Report on current and future challenges for cross-border cooperation with neighbouring countries.

His Report, which was adopted by a large majority in the Parliament, proposes measures for better cross-border cooperation between EU Member States and neighbourhood regions, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).

The EU-funded cooperation and infrastructure with the EU’s neighbours is an often underestimated aspect of the dynamic trade relationship with these countries.

“Local authorities in border areas have a historic responsibility to manage cross-border funds to strengthen connectivity with neighbouring states, and we in the European Parliament have the mission to ensure the visibility of these investments and to emphasise the benefits of being part of the European Union. It is essential to recognise that we need strong neighbours to build and maintain a strong Europe," says Buda who led negotiations on the Report on behalf of the EPP Group.

Buda’s report also identifies challenges for cross-border cooperation and makes several concrete policy recommendations. For example, aligning different EU programmes will simplify both the evaluation and implementation phases. In the case of our eastern neighbours in particular, existing funds should be better used to develop sustainable transport infrastructure, including the construction of rail links and storage facilities near the EU's borders with Ukraine and Moldova.

Note to editors

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 179 Members from all EU Member States

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