European Neighbourhood Policy
It is in the interest of the European Union to foster stability, prosperity as well as the rule of law and human rights in its own neighbourhood. Supporting the political and economic development in the states just outside EU borders best guarantees peace, security and long-term economic stability and growth for the whole region. Also, after decades of a divided Europe, the EU wants to avoid creating new dividing lines between its enlarging territory and its neighbours.
For these reasons, the EU reached out to its neighbouring countries and territories in Eastern Europe, in the Caucasus, and around the Mediterranean by developing the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2003-2004.
The European Neighbourhood Policy applies to the 16 immediate neighbours of the EU by land or sea – Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine. However, relations with neighbouring Russia are developed through a Strategic Partnership covering four “common spaces”, instead of through the ENP.
Through the ENP, each state is offered a privileged relationship, including the chance to integrate into the European Union’s internal market of 500 million consumers. In return, the ENP states must commit to democracy, human rights and reforms in a wide range of fields.
The ENP places a strong emphasis on partnership and joint ownership of the reform process. It is predicated upon jointly approved reform priorities and responding to various neighbours’ needs and efforts. Jointly approved partnerships for reform, known as ENP Action Plans, cover a number of key areas for specific action:
- political dialogue and reform;
- economic and social cooperation and development;
- trade - related issues;
- justice and home affairs;
- issues such as transport, energy, information society, environment, research and development.
Implementation of the Action Plans (agreed in 2005 with Israel, Jordan, Moldova, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Tunisia and Ukraine, in 2006 with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and in 2007 with Egypt and Lebanon) is underway. Country Progress Reports, put together by the European Commission, assess at regular intervals how the Action Plans have been implemented and what has been achieved in the partner countries.
The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) is the financial instrument which supports the ENP through concrete assistance actions.
A strong European Neighbourhood Policy