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New European Neighbourhood Policy - guide

25 May 2011
by eub2 -- last modified 25 May 2011

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Commission Vice-President and Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, today launched a new and ambitious European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) -- confirming the EU’s determined and reinforced engagement with its neighbours.


A number of important principles underpin the new European Neighbourhood Policy:

1. To support progress towards "deep democracy"

A functioning democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law are fundamental pillars of the EU partnership with its neighbours. There is no set model or a ready-made recipe for political reform. While reforms take place differently from one country to another, several elements are common to building deep and sustainable democracy and require a strong and lasting commitment on the part of governments. They include:

  • free and fair elections;
  • freedom of association, expression and assembly and a free press and media;
  • the rule of law administered by an independent judiciary and right to a fair trial;
  • fighting against corruption;
  • security and law enforcement sector reform (including the police) and the establishment of democratic control over armed and security forces.

Reform based on these elements will not only strengthen democracy but help to create the conditions for sustainable and inclusive economic growth, stimulating trade and investment. They are the main benchmarks against which the EU will assess progress and adapt levels of support.

It is increasingly important to complement EU engagement at a state level with much closer contact with non-governmental organisations and build a partnership with societies. Civil scoities organisations are key actors in promoting democratic and market-oriented reforms based on shared values, and a thriving civil society is a barrier against authoritarianism. It also helps citizens to play their crucial role in providing policy inputs and holding governments to account.

We shall:

  • establish partnerships in each neighbouring country and make EU support more accessible to civil society organisations through a dedicated Civil Society Facility
  • support the establishment of a European Endowment for Democracy to help political parties and non-registered NGOs and trade unions and other social partners
  • promote media freedom by supporting civil society organisations' unhindered access to the internet and the use of electronic communications technologies
  • reinforce human rights dialogues

With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and the creation of a High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy and of the European External Action Service, political and security co-operation between the EU and its immediate neighbours can shift to a higher gear in a number of areas.

We shall:

  • enhance EU involvement in solving protracted conflicts
  • make joined-up use of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and other EU instruments
  • promote joint action with European Neighbourhood Policy partners in international fora on key security issues

2. To support sustainable economic and social development

Most partner countries have weak and poorly diversified economies that remain vulnerable to external economic shocks. The immediate objectives is to promote sustainable economic growth and job creation and improving social protection. Trade is a powerful instrument to stimulate economic growth and support economic recovery. It is therefore essential that we establish with each of them mutually beneficial and ambitious trade arrangements matching their needs and their economic capacities. Finally, sector co-operation provides the opportunities to advance economic integration with the EU internal market.

We shall:

  • support partner countries' adoption of policies conducive to stronger sustainable and more inclusive growth, to the development of micro, small and medium-sized companies and to job creation
  • strengthen industrial cooperation and support improvements to the business environment
  • help to organise events to promote investment
  • promote direct investment from EU SMEs and micro-credit
  • build on the pilot regional development programmes to tackle economic disparities between regions
  • launch pilot programmes to support agricultural and rural development
  • enhance the macro-economic policy dialogue with partners making the most advanced economic reforms
  • improve the effectiveness of Macro-Financial Assistance by streamlining its decision-making process
  • enhance dialogue on employment and social policies
  • negotiate Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with willing and able partners
  • further develop trade concessions, especially in those sectors most likely to offer an immediate boost to partners' economies
  • enhance sector co-operation, with a particular focus on knowledge and innovation, climate change and the environment, energy, transport and technology
  • facilitate partner countries' participation in the work of selected EU agencies and programmes

Mobility and people-to-people contacts are fundamental to promoting mutual understanding and economic development. Labour mobility is an area where the EU and its neighbours can complement each other. The EU's workforce is ageing and labour shortages will develop in specific areas.

The ENP aims to develop a mutually beneficial approach where economic development in partner countries and in the EU, well-managed legal migration, capacity-building on border management, asylum and effective law-enforcement co-operation go hand in hand. This approach is in line with the three pillars of the EU Global Approach and the recently adopted Communication on migration: The promotion and respect of migrants' rights are also an integral part of the approach.

We shall:

  • Pursue the process of visa facilitation for selected ENP partners and visa liberalisation for those most advanced
  • Develop existing Mobility Partnerships and establish new ones
  • Support the full use by Member States of opportunities offered by the EU Visa Code

3. To build effective regional partnerships within the ENP

To strengthen the Eastern Partnership

We shall:

  • move to conclude and implement Association Agreements including Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas, DCFTAs
  • pursue democratisation
  • pursue the visa visa facilitation and liberalisation process
  • enhance sectoral cooperation, notably in the area of rural development
  • promote benefits of the Eastern Partnership to citizens
  • increase work with civil society and social partners
  • To build the Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity in the Southern Mediterranean

We shall:

  • Undertake Comprehensive Institution-Building programmes similar to those implemented with the eastern partners;
  • Launch a dialogue on migration, mobility and security with Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt (as a first step towards a Mobility Partnership);
  • Strengthen Euro-Mediterranean industrial cooperation
  • Launch pilot programmes to support agricultural and rural development;
  • Focus the Union for the Mediterranean on concrete projects with clear benefits to populations of the Mediterranean region ;
  • Advance sub-regional co-operation
  • Enhance dialogue on employment and social policies

4. A simplified and coherent policy and programming framework

A simplified and coherent policy and programme framework

Bilateral relations between the EU and each of its neighbours have become stronger in recent years. Close and intensive dialogue has developed not only on general political matters but on all specific areas of our co-operation. These very close relationships and a higher level of commitment call for much stronger political steering of our dialogue and co-operation.

While ENP Action Plans remain the framework for our general cooperation, the EU will suggest to partners that they focus on a limited number of short and medium-term priorities, incorporating more precise benchmarks and a clearer sequencing of actions. The EU will adapt the priorities for its financial assistance accordingly.

Implementing the new approach of the neighbourhood policy requires additional resources of up to €1242 million until 2013. Financial support will be provided to further reinforce the partnership with people across the region, support sustainable and inclusive growth, cover the additional needs stemming from the democratic transformation of partner countries, and fund the new initiatives stemming from this review, notably in the areas of partnership with societies, rural and regional development.

We shall:

  • Focus ENP Action Plans and EU assistance on a smaller number of priorities, backed with more precise benchmarks;
  • Provide additional resources of over EUR 1 billion until 2013 to address the urgent needs of our neighbourhood
  • Secure additional loan possibilities by the EIB and the EBRD, including an extension of the latter's mandate to selected Southern partners
  • Promote more flexible and simpler aid delivery under the post-2013 successor to the present ENPI;
  • Step up efforst of co-ordination between teh EU, its Member States and other key IFIs and bilateral donors

The documents available include:

  • The Communication "A new response to a changing Neighbourhood" (Brussels 24 May 2011).
  • A medium term Programme for a renewed ENP.
  • Individual country reports for 2010 for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Republic of Moldova, the occupied Palestinian territory, Tunisia and Ukraine.
  • Eastern Partnership report.
  • A report on the Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity.
  • Sectoral report

Further information on the European Neighbourhood Policy

Source: European Commission