||EU and its Institutions
The EU-Russia Cooperation Programme is designed to aid Russia in major economic and public developments by combining EU experience in market economies and democracies with Russiaís local knowledge and skills. The EU experts work with Russians to develop and reform local laws and regulations, as well as institutions and organizations. The EU projects set up partnerships and networks within the communities to aid in transition. In addition, the EU-funded projects provide policy advice and consultants, and conduct studies and training courses for Russian businessmen.
The EU-Russia Cooperation Programme focuses on support for reform of the institutional, legal and administrative sectors, as well as support to the private sector in the areas of economic development, social consequences of transition, and nuclear safety.
At present, the EU-Russia Cooperation Programme is funded through TACIS (programme of technical assistance to CIS countries). Russia has been the biggest beneficiary of support to the countries in the post-Soviet region receiving about half of all funding. Since 1991, when the Programme was launched, 2.7 billion Euro in assistance has been granted to Russia and has been used in 1500 projects in 58 regions.
The current EU-Russia strategic partnership is developing within the four common spaces in the fields of the economy; freedom, security, and justice; external security; and education, research and culture. The May 2005 EU-Russia summit adopted a package of road maps for these four common spaces. These road maps set out shared objectives for EU/Russia relations and the actions necessary to make these objectives a reality.
Additionally, Russia receives support through multi-country programmes, including the Regional Programme and the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme. This funding covers projects in the fields of telecommunications, the environment, and Information Society networks, crime, and migration.
The EU-Russia Cooperation Programme is unique for several reasons. Firstly, all activities are the result of continuous dialogue between Russia and the EU, which fosters a sense of partnership and strong commitment on both sides. Secondly, the EU combines the knowledge and expertise of all 25 Member States, which brings a greater wealth of knowledge and experience than programmes supported by a single country. Thirdly, the Programme is integrated with the government through a framework established by the PCA, which furthers the strength of the commitment on both sides. All technical assistance to Russian counterpart organizations is in the form of grants, not loans.
Activities are defined through a multi-step process. Starting on the political level, the European Commission and Russian authorities analyze the situation. The EU then sets out priorities for the Programmeís support in a Country Strategy Paper for Russia.
Using this document, the European Commission and the Russian government work together to determine the financial resources to be allocated to the priority objectives and develop the National Indicative Programme (NIP), which covers up to four years.
Under the NIP, the European Commission adopts annual programmes, called Action Programmes. These programmes establish the specific, detailed projects that match the objectives set forth in the Strategy Paper. As projects become ready for implementation, the European Commission selects contractors for the projects through a competitive tendering process.
The EU-Russia Cooperation Programme strives to ensure that the knowledge and skills are transferred to local partners who intend to remain in Russia following the projectís completion.
The Programme also fosters partnerships, studies, training, and networking throughout the EU and partner countries. Russian governmental organizations, NGOs and other institutions may make suggestions for future projects, either to authorities in their own countries or to the delegations of the European Commission in Russia. In Russia, the National Coordinating Unit handles implementation of the National Programmes.
The following is a list of relevant web sites for the general public:
The European Union is established in accordance with the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht). There are currently 25 Member States of the Union. It is based on the European Communities and the member states cooperation in the fields of Common Foreign and Security Policy and Justice and Home Affairs. The five main institutions of the European Union are the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission, the Court of Justice and the Court of Auditors. The European Union is a major player in international co-operation and development aid. It is also the worlds largest humanitarian aid donor. Today, the European Community has political and financial responsibility for over 10% of the worlds public aid (ODA), compared with 5% in 1985. The primary aim of the ECs own development policy, agreed in November 2000, is the eradication of poverty. To enhance its impact, the EC is targeting its assistance on six priority areas: trade and development; regional integration and co-operation; support to macroeconomic policies and equitable access to social services; transport; food security and sustainable rural development; institutional capacity building, good governance and the rule of law. In addition to these core areas, important crosscutting issues are being mainstreamed into development activities namely: human rights, gender equality, environment and conflict prevention.
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COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
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EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE
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EUROPEAN COURT OF AUDITORS
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THE EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK (EIB)
The European Investment Bank is the European Unions financing institution. It provides loans for capital investment promoting the Unions balanced economic development and integration. It is the leading institution for basic infrastructure investments in South Eastern Europe.
THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE (ESC)
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COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS (COR)
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EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK (ECB)
The European Central Bank frames and implements European monetary policy; it conducts foreign exchange operations and ensures the smooth operation of payment systems.