The European Commission and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) will work together to strengthen the independence of the media in the European Neighbourhood Region, following a meeting between Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, and EBU President Jean-Paul Phillipot and EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre.
The organisations have signed and exchanged letters to cement their cooperation in the European Neighbourhood region, building on existing collaboration in the context of EU Enlargement policy.
The European Neighbourhood Policy seeks to tie those countries to the east and south of the European territory of the EU to the Union.
They include EBU Member countries Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya and Tunisia in the South and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in the East.
EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot said: “Independent and sustainable public service media organisations are pillars of freedom of expression and a democratic media landscape. EBU Partnership Programme activities in the European Neighbourhood region will be all the more potent with the backing of the European Commission.”
EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, said: “Freedom of expression, free press and media are the pillars of deep and sustainable democracy, which is one of the core objectives of the European Neighbourhood Policy. I am very happy that the European Broadcasting Union shares our view that securing freedom of expression requires a continuous effort by all stakeholders.”
“I welcome in particular engagement of the EBU in countries like Ukraine, or Tunisia which are undergoing important changes. The role of media and its independence is crucial in assisting this process. I would like to confirm our commitment to cooperate with the EBU on the improvement of the media landscape in the European Neighbourhood region and to advance the cooperation which has already proved to be very successful in the Enlargement region,” added Commissioner Füle.
Under its Partnership Programme, the EBU undertakes various actions targeting public service broadcasters in the Enlargement and European Neighbourhood region. Actions notably include assistance, technical support and training to build internal capacity for independence and long-term sustainability.
Further background information on European Neighbourhood Policy is available in the European Commission's Press release.