Third country relationships with the EU

From Academic Kids

The European Union has a number of relationships with nations that are not formally part of the Union. According to the European Union's official site, and a statement by Commissioner Günter Verheugen, the aim is to have a ring of countries, sharing EU's democratic ideals and joining them in further integration without necessarily becoming full member states.



The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was created to allow European countries to partake in free trade with the European Communities (later European Union), without becoming full members. Most of the countries initially in EFTA have since joined the EU itself, so only four remain outside, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

The European Economic Area (EEA) agreement allows Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to have access to the EU single market. The four basic freedoms (goods, services, people and capital) apply. However, some restrictions on fisheries and agriculture take place.

  • Norway: Norway is a member of the EEA, therefore it participates in the single market, and most EU laws are made part of Norwegian law. Norway has signed the Schengen treaty, which means border checks are no longer made.
  • Iceland: Like Norway, Iceland joined the EEA, and is considered part of the EU single market. Iceland has also signed the Schengen treaty.
  • Liechtenstein: Liechtenstein joined the EEA in 1995 and participates in the EU single market.
  • Switzerland: Switzerland refused to join the EEA in 1992, so Swiss products do not participate in the European single market. However the country recently negotiated two series of bilateral agreements with the Union. The first series, Bilateral Agreements I, consists of seven bilateral agreements and was signed in 1999 (entry into force in 2001), the main part being Free Movement of Persons (full text of the agreement ( The second series, Bilateral Agreements II, relates to nine areas and was signed in 2004 (entered into full force on March 30, 2005) and includes the Schengen treaty and the Dublin Convention (full text of the agreement ( (official press release ( Joining the European Union is the objective of the Swiss government.

European microstates and Eurozone-related

There are countries which, though not official members of the Eurozone, still use the Euro as legal or de facto currency, through either official agreements or unofficially. These are mostly European microstates which are largely economically dependent on their larger Eurozone-member neighbours.

  • San Marino: San Marino is not a member of the EU, but had a special agreement with Italy to mint a limited number of Lira coins. With the passage to the Euro, the agreement was updated so that San Marino could mint specific Euro coins that can be used in all the Eurozone.
  • Vatican City: The Vatican City is not part of the EU, but like San Marino, there is an agreement to mint its own coins (limited) which are legal tender in the Eurozone.
  • Monaco: Monaco is not a member of the EU, but French VAT applies. The Monegasque state had a special agreement with France (and now the EU) to mint its own coinage, which is legal tender in all the Eurozone.
  • Andorra: Andorra is not part of the EU, but uses the Euro as its legal currency. Andorra is excluded from the EU customs union for agricultural products.

European Neighbourhood Policy

According to the European Union's official site, the objective of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is to share the benefits of the EU’s 2004 enlargement with neighbouring countries. It is also designed to prevent the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours. The vision is that of a ring of countries, drawn into further integration, but without necessarily becoming full members of the European Union.

The policy was first outlined by the European Commission on March 2003.

The partners covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy are the following:

These include all of the Mediterranean shores of Africa and the Middle-east, as well as the European CIS states (with the exception of Russia and Kazakhstan) in the Caucasus and Eastern Europe.

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership

Main article: Barcelona Process

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership or Barcelona Process is a wide framework of political, economic and social relations between member states of the EU and countries of the Southern Mediterannean. It was initiated on 27-28 November 1995 through a conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, held in Barcelona.

Besides the 25 member states of the European Union, the remaining "Mediterranean Partners" are the following:

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Palestinian Authority
  • Syria
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey

Libya has observer status since 1999.

Financial cooperation and assistance programs

CARDS programme

CARDS, short for "Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation", was established on 5 December, 2000 through Council regulation Number 2666/2000.

Its scope is the Western Balkans countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro and the Republic of Macedonia). The programme's wider objective is to support those nations in the Stabilisation and Association Process.

TACIS programme

The TACIS programme, established in 1991, is a programme of technical assistance that supports the process of transition to market economies for the 12 CIS countries. Until 2003, Mongolia was also included in the programme but is now covered by the ALA programme.

Links: [1] (, [2] (

MEDA programme

The MEDA programme is the principal financial instrument for the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, offering technical and financial support measures to accompany the reform of economic and social structures in the Mediterranean partner countries.

The first MEDA programme was established for the period of 1995-1999. On November 2000, a new regulation established MEDA II for the period of 2000-2006.

Links: [3] (

ACP program

Main article: ACP countries

ACP stands for "Africa, Caribbean and Pacific". The programme applies to 71 countries, among which are all African nations with the exception of the Mediterranean countries of Northern Africa (covered by the MEDA programme above). The ACP is currently covered by the Cotonou Agreement, which replaces the Lomé Convention.

External links: ACP Countries at official EU site (

ALA program

ALA, standing for "Asia and Latin America" is a programme for financial aid and cooperation with those regions.

Customs Union

Certain countries are in customs union with the EU. These are Turkey (since 1996) Andorra (since 1991), and San Marino (signed in 1991 and in force since 2002)

External links


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