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The European Neighbourhood Instrument (2014–2020)



Regulation (EU) No 232/2014 establishing a European Neighbourhood Instrument


  • It sets up the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI).
  • The ENI aims to create an area of shared prosperity and good neighbourliness between European Union (EU) Member States and partner countries by:
    • promoting human rights, the rule of law, sustainable democracy and citizen participation;
    • sustainable and inclusive growth and economic, social and territorial development, including progressive integration into the EU’s internal market;
    • mobility and people-to-people contacts, including student exchanges;
    • regional integration, including cross-border cooperation (CBC) programmes.
  • Respect for human rights, democracy and good governance will be an important criterion influencing the granting of funds to partner countries.
  • Because Regulation (EU) No 232/2014 has no longer applied since 31 December 2020, specific rules are now laid down in a separate regulation, Regulation (EU) 2022/2192, for the continued implementation of the cooperation programmes whose implementation has been disrupted by the Russian military aggression against Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • The ENI provides the bulk of funding to the 16 partner countries covered by the European neighbourhood policy, which was reviewed in 2015 to respond to the new challenges of an evolving neighbourhood and is based on differentiation, joint ownership and flexibility.
  • This financing instrument seeks to strengthen relations with the beneficiaries through bilateral, multi-country and CBC programmes.

Partner countries

The ENI beneficiaries are Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Palestine*, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine.

Cross-border and transnational cooperation with Russia (which was not a partner country but was eligible for regional cooperation projects) and Belarus has been suspended since March 2022, following the Russian military aggression against Ukraine.

The ENI also supports the implementation of regional and macro-regional strategies (as for the Black Sea synergy).

Approach to support

  • The ENI will differentiate levels of support by adjusting assistance to the partner countries’ needs and progress.
  • EU support:
    • is based on an incentive-based approach (known as the more for more approach) to permit greater support for partners genuinely implementing sustainable democracy;
    • focuses on cross-border cooperation programmes between Member States and partner countries;
    • seeks to strengthen links between EU and partner countries’ citizens by enabling participation in EU internal programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+.
  • The ENI also encourages citizens’ organisations and local authorities to get involved in preparing, implementing and monitoring EU support. Joint programming with Member States is used to enhance EU coordination and identify and develop common priorities.
  • ENI countries can also benefit from:
    • twinning, an EU instrument that encourages the sharing of expertise through institutional cooperation between Member States’ public administrations and those in beneficiary or partner countries; and
    • TAIEX (Technical Assistance and Information Exchange), another instrument offering short-term assistance to partner countries providing expertise on incorporating EU laws into their national law, and on their subsequent application and enforcement.

Budget and implementation

  • The ENI budget for 2014–2020 is €15.433 billion.
  • The main rules and procedures to implement this programme are found in Regulation (EU) No 236/2014 on funding under the EU’s external financing instruments.
  • The European Commission adopted an implementing act (Implementing Regulation (EU) No 897/2014) laying down specific rules for implementing CBC programmes funded under the ENI. It covers aspects relating to programmes, such as:
    • preparation
    • content
    • adoption
    • adjustments and revision
    • financing agreements
    • methods of implementation
    • co-financing and contributions in kind
    • period of execution
    • programme structures and
    • management and control systems.
  • In 2020, the Commission adopted Regulation (EU) 2020/879 amending Regulation (EU) No 897/2014 to align the implementing rules for ENI-financed CBC programmes with specific measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is to enable such CBC programmes to respond to the rapidly emerging needs in a flexible and effective way with regard to the most affected sectors, such as healthcare, business – including small and medium-sized enterprises – and the labour market, and to foster socioeconomic recovery in the programmes’ areas. Among other things, the amending regulation states that:
    • the co-financing rule does not apply to the EU contribution concerning the expenditure incurred and paid as included in the programmes' annual accounts for the accounting year beginning on 1 July 2020 and ending on 30 June 2021;
    • the deadline of 31 December 2021 for signing all contracts other than already-concluded large infrastructure projects is extended until 31 December 2022;
    • project activities financed by the programmes cannot be expected to end on 31 December 2022 – that deadline is extended until 31 December 2023;
    • as regards the accounting year from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, audit authorities may make use of a non-statistical sampling method;
    • the selection of the projects may be done through an award without a call for proposals in exceptional cases and with due justification in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • the procedural steps to be taken by the Commission should be shortened by not requiring the submission of the full project application to the Commission for the assessment of the project;
    • the eligibility of expenditure fostering the crisis-response capacities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is exceptionally allowed as of 1 February 2020;
    • to ensure consistency between the rules under Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 on the EU Structural and Cohesion Funds (see summary) and Implementing Regulation (EU) No 897/2014, the implementation of both types of cross-border cooperation programmes are aligned – the period of execution of programmes is extended by 1 year, until 31 December 2025.

Addressing disruptions in programme implementation

To address disruptions in programme implementation as a result of the impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic, Regulation (EU) 2022/2192 seeks to:

  • facilitate the use of ENI resources by Member States and regions to support measures to address migratory challenges as a result of the military aggression by Russia;
  • allow for an exemption from the co-financing rules currently applicable to provide the necessary flexibility to mobilise existing investment resources to address these disruptions; and
  • facilitate legal certainty for other aspects which programme authorities have to face.

The regulation allows, for example:

  • 100% EU co-financing of ENI-CBC programmes for the accounting years starting on 1 July 2021, 1 July 2022 and 1 July 2023 – meaning that national co-financing would no longer be required;
  • granting retroactive eligibility to the start of the Russian invasion for projects addressing migratory challenges under ENI-CBC programmes;
  • an exceptional exemption from the obligation for all projects to have at least one beneficiary from a partner country and for all activities to have genuine cross-border or transnational impact and benefits;
  • activities by programme-managing authorities to accelerate the necessary changes to projects already approved and halfway through their implementation, including large infrastructure projects.


It has applied since 1 January 2014.


For further information, see:


Regulation (EU) No 232/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 establishing a European Neighbourhood Instrument (OJ L 77, 15.3.2014, pp. 27–43).


Regulation (EU) 2022/2192 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 November 2022 laying down specific provisions for the 2014-2020 cooperation programmes supported by the European Neighbourhood Instrument and under the European territorial cooperation goal, following programme implementation disruption (OJ L 292, 11.11.2022, pp. 1–11).

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/879 of 23 June 2020 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 897/2014 as regards specific provisions to align the provisions for the implementation of cross-border cooperation programmes financed under the European Neighbourhood Instrument with specific measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (OJ L 203, 26.6.2020, pp. 59–62).

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 897/2014 of 18 August 2014 laying down specific provisions for the implementation of cross-border cooperation programmes financed under Regulation (EU) No 232/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council establishing a European Neighbourhood Instrument (OJ L 244, 19.8.2014, pp. 12–54).

Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) No 897/2014 have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

* This designation should not be construed as a recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of Member States on this issue.

last update 30.03.2023