The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)
The European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) aims at bringing Europe and its neighbours closer, to their mutual benefit and interest. It was conceived after the 2004 enlargement of the EU with 10 new member countries, in order to avoid creating new borders in Europe.
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) governs the EU's relations with 16 of the EU's closest Eastern and Southern Neighbours. To the South: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine*, Syria**and Tunisia and to the East: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Russia takes part in Cross-Border Cooperation activities under the ENP and is not a part of the ENP as such.
The ENP supports political and economic reforms in Europe’s neighbouring countries as a means of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in the whole region. It is designed to give greater emphasis than previously to bilateral relations between the EU and each neighbouring country.
The ENP was reviewed in 2011, following the 'Arab Spring' uprisings. However, given the significant developments in the Neighbourhood since 2011, it became essential to undertake a further review. Following a public consultation in 2015, involving partner countries, international organisations, social partners, civil society and academia, a Joint Communication setting out the main lines of the review of the ENP was published on 18 November 2015.
Under the revised ENP, stabilisation of the region, in political, economic, and security related terms, will be at the heart of the new policy. Moreover, the revised ENP puts a strong emphasis on two principles: the implementation of a differentiated approach to the EU’s Neighbours, to respect their different aspirations, and to better answer EU interests and the interests of its partners; and an increased ownership by partner countries and Member States.
"Our most pressing challenge is the stabilisation of our neighbourhood. Conflicts, terrorism and radicalisation threaten us all. But poverty, corruption and poor governance are also sources of insecurity. That is why we will refocus relations with our partners where necessary on our genuinely shared common interests. In particular economic development, with a major focus on youth employment and skills will be key," said Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn.
The new ENP mobilises efforts to support inclusive economic and social development; creating job opportunities for youth is among the key measures of economic stabilisation. There is a new focus on stepping up work with partner countries in the security sector, mainly in the areas of conflict-prevention, counter-terrorism and anti-radicalisation policies. Safe and legal mobility on the one hand and tackling irregular migration, human trafficking and smuggling on the other are further priorities. Finally, greater attention is paid to working with partners on energy security and climate action.
How the ENP works
In 2014, the ENP funding mechanism, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) was replaced by the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), an increasingly policy-driven instrument worth over €15 billion from 2014-2020, which provides for increased differentiation, more flexibility, stricter conditionality and incentives for best performers.
The bulk of ENI funding is used for bilateral cooperation, tailor-made to each Neighbourhood partner country. A key element in this context is the bilateral ENP Action Plans (AP), which are mutually agreed between the EU and each partner country. The AP sets out an agenda of political and economic reforms with short and medium-term priorities and serves as the political framework guiding the priorities for cooperation. Action Plans have been negotiated and formally adopted by all partner countries, apart from Belarus, Libya and Syria. An Action Plan with Algeria is currently under negotiation.
The ENP review proposes revised joint priorities for cooperation, better suited to the current challenges and adapted to the regions’ evolutions. In addition to good governance, democracy, rule of law and human rights, three other sets of joint priorities have been identified, each of them covering a wide number of cooperation sectors:
1) Economic development for stabilisation
2) The security dimension
3) Migration and mobility
In the framework of the reviewed ENP, the EU aims to develop a new style of assessment, focusing specifically on meeting the goals agreed with partners. These reports will be timed to provide the basis for a political exchange of views in the relevant high-level meetings with partner countries, such as Association/Cooperation Councils.
The ENP is chiefly a bilateral policy between the EU and each partner country. But it is complemented by regional and multilateral cooperation initiatives:
To find out more about the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), click here
For key ENP policy documents, click here
* This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.
**The EU suspended all its bilateral cooperation with the Government of Syria and its participation in regional programmes in 2011.