The European Commission has announced recently that it plans to deepen its cooperation with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Both organizations will work together to strengthen the independence of the media in the European Neighborhood Region. The collaboration between the Commission and EBU was established by EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Fuele, EBU President Jean-Paul Phillipot and EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre.
Commissioner Fuele commented that 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 Neighborhood Policy. The outgoing Commissioner said that he was happy that EBU shared the same views on the importance a continuous effort by all stakeholders to ensure freedom of expression. “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.” Mr Fuele then added that he “[…] 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.”
Under the mutual partnership program, the EBU will undertake a number of actions targeting public service broadcasters in the Enlargement and European Neighborhood region. Help is mostly provided in the form of technical support, assistance, training, and capacity building for independence as well as long-term sustainability. The European Neighborhood Policy is a framework governing relations of the European Union to its 16 eastern and southern neighbors. Current enlargement aspirants and candidate countries are Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, and Turkey.