The importance of the Carpathian Convention for the European integration

The importance of the Carpathian Convention for the European integration results from the fact, that not only the Member States of the European Union are Parties to the Convention, but also two countries directly neighbouring the EU:

  • the Republic of Serbia (bordering two Parties to the Carpathian Convention: Romania and Hungary) applying for the membership in the Union and having already a ‘candidate country’ status, and
  • Ukraine (bordering as many as four Parties to the Carpathian Convention: the Slovak Republic, Poland, Romania and Hungary) which in 2014 ratified the Association Agreement with the EU, included in the EU's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).

Therefore, the cooperation with these two countries under the framework of the Carpathian Convention pursues EU's strategic interests in stability, security and conflict prevention, and encourages further European integration. From the Polish perspective particularly important is strengthening of the cooperation with Ukraine, taking into account its size, location, potential, cultural similarities and common history, which makes it the most important state of the Eastern Partnership, which defines the eastern dimension of EU policy under the ENP programme, launched in 2008 in response to the common initiative of the Polish and Swedish diplomacies.

Moreover, the adoption of the provisions of the Carpathian Convention and its thematic protocols by the two above-mentioned States often means the acceptance of parts of the EU acquis communautaire well ahead of their potential membership in the EU.

For example, provisions of the thematic protocol concerning the conservation and sustainable use of biological and landscape diversity of the Carpathians, adopted in 2008 by all Parties to the Framework Carpathian Convention (which since 4 July 2013 is in force already in all seven countries of the Carpathian region), and in particular the solutions prescribed in the Strategic Action Plan for the implementation of the above Protocol (adopted by all Parties in 2011) take into account the provisions of the two basic EU directives related to the protection of nature, i.e. the Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (i.e. the Habitats Directive) and the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council 2009/147/EC of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds (i.e. the Birds Directive).

Thus, the common European standards, best practices and solutions adopted in the legislation of the European Union are disseminated through the cooperation under the Carpathian Convention in all its Parties, including those that are not the EU Member States – Ukraine and the Republic of Serbia.