On 18 November 2002, the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) and on 12-13 December 2002, the Copenhagen European Council underlined the European Union's aspiration to take forward relations with its neighbours: Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Southern Mediterranean countries and welcomed the intention of the Commission and the Secretary-General/High Representative to bring forward proposals to that end.
On 11 March 2003, with the aim to launch the "European Neighbourhood Initiative" the European Commission published the Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on "Wider Europe – Neighbourhood: A New Framework for Relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours". The Communication stated that the EU should aim to develop a zone of prosperity and a friendly neighbourhood – a "ring of friends" – with whom the EU will enjoy close, peaceful and co-operative relations. The document aimed at providing a framework for the development of the EU relations with the Southern Mediterranean countries, Russia and Western Newly Independent States (WNIS). In the framework of the "European Neighbourhood Initiative" a new policy is based on different approach according to depth of relations between the country and the European Union.
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was created as a result of the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, to avoid drawing new dividing lines in Europe and to promote stability and prosperity within and beyond the new borders of the EU.
The ENP supports the process of legislative and regulatory approximation of political, economic and cultural relations between the neighbouring countries and the European Union.
The initiative was first launched for Ukraine, Moldova and Southern Mediterranean countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Lybia, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and the Palestinian Authority.
The Georgian Rose Revolution was followed by the inclusion of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan into the European Neighbourhood Policy in July 2004.
The European Neighborhood Policy opened new partnership perspectives for Georgia. The European Union offers preferential relations to its neighbours, based on democracy, the rule of law and protection of human rights that goes beyond cooperation and involves deeper economic integration as well as intensive political relations.
The European Union ensures the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy based on action plans negotiated with each neighbour country and/or region. The political and economic parameters of the Action Plan, established by the European Commission, form the basis for the progress assessment of individual countries. Although the Action Plans are based on common principles they are individually-tailored by the EU according to the common interests, country's current position and needs.
The "European Neighborhood Policy" is based on the following policy measures:
- Harmonisation of rules and standards;
- Preferential trading relations to all members of the ENP for easy access to the EU market;
- Provision of the basis for free mobility of human resource and legal migration;
- Enhancing cooperation in the area of security, notably in the field of terrorism, trans-national organised crime, drug transit, trafficking, money-laundering and fight against corruption;
- Active involvement of the European Union in conflict resolution and crisis management;
- Increasing efforts to protect human rights and strengthening cooperation in the field of culture;
- Ensuring the integration of the ENP countries in the European networks for transport, energy, telecommunication and in European research area;
- Encouraging investments and adoption of the instruments for protection;
- Provision of the assistance focused on the requirements of the ENP countries;
- Searching for new funds including the availability of the European Investment Bank (EIB) loans.
The Government of Georgia and the European Commission agreed on the common text of the European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan (ENP AP) in November 2006. The document determines the strategic objectives of cooperation and ensures implementation of relevant political and economic priorities. The Action Plan was adopted on 14 November 2006.
The European Neighborhood Action Plan is a renewable document that enables the renewal of its content based on evaluation, development of bilateral relations and quality of country's progress. The Action Plan covers a timeframe of ﬁve years.
The Office of the State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration (OSMEEAI) together with relevant ministries and governmental agencies prepares the annual Action Plan for the implementation of the ENP in Logical Framework Matrix providing the measures to achieve the priorities of the Action Plan. The web monitoring system is available of the implementation of the ENP Action Plan.
The report on the implementation of the ENP AP is prepared annually in collaboration with relevant governmental agencies.
The Government of Georgia holds annual International Conference to demonstrate the implementation process of the ENP Action Plan, enhance cooperation with European partners and seize opportunities of the ENP.
The International Conference - "Georgia's European Way":
- 1st International Conference - Batumi, 2-4 July 2007;
- 2nd International Conference - Tbilisi, 5-6 February 2008;
- 3rd International Conference - Batumi, 3-5 July 2008;
- 4th International Conference - Tbilisi, 9-10 February 2009;
- 5th International Conference - Batumii, 3-4 July 2009;
- 6th International Conference - Tbilisi, 11-12 February 2010;
- 7th International Conference - Batumi, 15-17 July 2010;
- 8th International Conference - Batumi, 21-23 July 2011;
- 9th International Conference - Batumi, 10-12 July 2012;
- 10th International Conference - Batumi, 11-12 July 2013;
- 11th International Conference - Batumi, 10-11 July 2014.