27 Mar 2013

Don’t fix what ain’t broke: A German-led proposal to change how the neighbourhood policy is managed is misguided

Hrant Kostanyan


Published in European Voice.

There are many problems in the institutional set-up of the European Union's diplomatic service that could and should be addressed in the upcoming review of how the service has operated in its first two and a half years. On many of these issues, the proposal put forward by Germany on 1 February and endorsed by 13 other EU member states is fair, accurate and ambitious.

But on one point the proposal is wrong. The ministers say that the EU's foreign policy chief and the diplomatic service, the European External Action Service (EEAS), “should be responsible for [the European] neighbourhood policy (ENP) as this constitutes a central area of European foreign policy”. It is a vague formulation but makes clear that they want the current institutional set-up to be changed, presumably with more resources and responsibilities moved into the EEAS. Indeed, the proposal is more than wrong – the current management of the ENP should, rightfully, appear on a list of ‘best practices'.

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