elni Review 2010, Issue 2, pp. 71-77. https://doi.org/10.46850/elni.2010.010
In its 2010 Communication on the European Neighbourhood Policy, the European Commission stressed that “[m]any partners are showing a growing interest in EU experience, and are today increasingly willing to converge with EU environment directives. Regulatory convergence should continue to be at the core of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) as well as cooperation on environmental governance.” This statement reflects the importance accorded the process of convergence within the framework of the relations of the EU with its neighbours. The term “convergence” refers to the process by which a third country aligns its legislation with EU requirements. This terminology has developed to distinguish it from the approximation process to which the candidate countries – i.e., the countries that have been accepted by the EU as on track for future EU membership – are subject.
This paper looks at the differences between both processes, taking the EU water legislation as an example. After a description of the historical background, it focuses on what is meant by convergence with the EU legislation. It considers key elements and challenges and analyses how tools developed throughout the years can support the process. Then it draws on the authors’ own experiences in Georgia and Moldova to draw lessons learnt and to make suggestions with a view to improving the convergence process.
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- Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy, OJ 2000 L 327/1.
- Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive) (Text with EEA relevance), OJ 2008 L 164/19.
- Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks (Text with EEA relevance), OJ 2007 L 288/27.
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- Directive 2008/105/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on environmental quality standards in the field of water policy, amending and subsequently repealing Council Directives 82/176/EEC, 83/513/EEC, 84/156/EEC, 84/491/EEC, 86/280/EEC and amending Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, OJ 2008 L 348/84.
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- ECBSea Project Final Report to EuropAid, 2009.