21 Mar 2007

European Neighbourhood Policy Two Years on: Time indeed for an ‘ENP Plus’

Gergana Noutcheva / Michael Emerson / Nicu Popescu

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Conceived in 2003 and 2004, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has now had two years of operational experience. This initial experience has seen a sorting out of the partner states, with Action Plans drawn up for five Eastern and seven Southern partner states. This paper distinguishes among these 12 states between the ‘willing’ and the ‘passive’; and among the other partner states without Action Plans between the ‘reluctant’ and the ‘excluded’. The authors argue that these groupings should be the basis for stronger differentiation in the policy packages offered by the EU. The authors also argue that the general political context now calls for a strong reinforcement of the ENP, since the benign situation of 2004 has given way now to a more menacing one, given threats to European values bearing down on the EU from all sides. Accordingly, they outline a 15-point programme for achieving a qualitative upgrading of the ENP, to give it strategic leverage, rather than allowing it to be seen as a poor cousin of the enlargement process.