27 Feb 2013

The EEAS and the European Neighbourhood Policy: a change in rhetoric or reality?

Hrant Kostanyan


Published in CIES Neighbourhood Policy Papers.

On the day that the European Parliament voted to approve the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy delivered her ‘Europe and the world’ speech in the Athens Concert Hall presenting the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) as one of three priorities of the European Union’s (EU) external action. Approximately two and the half year after the famous speech, this article aims to examine the newly established EEAS’ collaboration with the member states and other EU institutions for the purpose of advancing the EU’s interest in the Eastern and Southern neighborhoods. The paper argues that the EEAS needs sufficient resources to bring added value to the neighborhood policy. The Service’s effort to reconceptualize the ENP as a tool through which the EU assists partner governments to conduct reforms could progress if the EEAS overcomes the double standards in dealing with the neighbors. Ultimately, gaining the trust of the member states, working closely with the Commission Directorates General and maintaining the support of the European Parliament are preconditions for the new-born EEAS to advance a qualitatively renewed ENP.

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