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EU's Eastern Neighbours

Through development cooperation, Denmark has contributed significantly to the development in the EU’s neighbouring countries in the East and the Balkans. From 2017 onwards, we will focus on Ukraine and Georgia with a specific focus on the promotion of democracy and human rights as well as the strengthening of sustainable and inclusive Growth.

There is a lot at stake in Ukraine and Georgia. Both countries are transitioning through extensive reform processes aimed at strengthening democracy, promoting human rights and creating sustainable economic Growth. There is political will, but great hindrances for the reform process. In its current phase, the Neighbourhood Programme focuses on the implementation of reforms to ensure that Progress is felt by the populations.

Important Progress has been made since both countries achieved independence in the beginning of the 1990s with regards to the transition towards democracy and respect for human rights, an open economy and a responsible public sector. However, it is also clear that the transition will be a long and difficult process. Both countries for example experience great challenges in centralised public institutions and authorities which limit the access and influence for Citizens living outside of the large urban centres. The energy systems are inefficient and pollution levels high. In both countries the media is under pressure and civil society continuously has to Work on finding, and fulfilling, its role in the continued societal Development. Large scale corruption has possibly been the greatest single problem. In this regard especially Georgia has come a long way in a short time while Ukraine still faces a great task.

The Neighbourhood Programme

Denmark's bilateral Development effort in Ukraine and Georgie is administered through the Neighbourhood Programme which entered its fourth phase in 2017. The fourt phase will be active until 2021.

The major goal of the Neighbourhood Programme is to contribute to a peaceful and stable Europe with freedom and Progress through contributing to the Development of democratic societies with responsible public authorities, an active civil society as well as free and well-functioning markets.

The programme thereby also supports Denmark's foreign policy priority of promoting  a peaceful and stable Europe in Progress.

The cooperation for 2017-2021 has two major objectives:

1) To promote human rights and democracy.

2) To strengthen sustainable and inclusive growth.

The objectives are administered through several multi-year programmes within support to civil society organisations, the media, equal rights, human rights, anti-corruption, decentralisation, growth, employment and energy efficiency. All the themes have been chosen based on their relation to the needs and priorities within the two countries. The themes furthermore aligned with Danish interests and key competencies and UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

The Neighbourhood Programme specifically focuses on goal 5 on gender equality, goal 7 on affordable and clean energy, goal 8 on decent Work and economic growth, goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions and goal 17 on global partnerships.

Furthermore, Danish officials will be seconded to international organisations and observing missions in the region for both short and long term missions.

The total Financial frame for the 5-year programme is planned to be 800 million DKK, allocated in yearly greants amounting to 160 million DKK. The allocation of the funds between the countries is estimated to be 70 % towards Ukraine and 30 % towards Georgia.

In 2015 the total frame for the Development cooperation was cut, including contributions to the neighbourhood region. For this reason, the support will be terminated for countries, including Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Kosovo and Moldova but currently active programmes will run their course. The currently active programmes in these countries are expected to be fully outphased by 2019.

Alternative financing and support for democracy and civil-society 

The Neighbourhood Programme has no direct application procedure. But Danish organisations who wish to work with the promotion og democracy and human rights, are encouraged, alongside others, to apply for support through the European Endowment for Democracy.

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