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Convergence with the Water Framework Directive in the Context of the European Neighbourhood Policy

Claire Dupont and Gretta Goldenman

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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