01 Feb 2013

Strengthening the strategic choice offered to the EU’s southern Mediterranean neighbours

Steven Blockmans / Bart Van Vooren

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Finding that the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) currently lacks a strategic vision that would offer states in the southern Mediterranean substantial returns in exchange for making tough reforms, this CEPS Commentary suggests that this weakness can be overcome through a concrete prospect of regional integration pro-actively driven forward by the European Union. Taking inspiration from current projects such as the Energy Community Treaty, the authors urge the EU to explicitly incorporate “legally binding sectoral multilateralism” into the ENP. This would provide the Union’s partners with a tangible prospect of reaping real long-term benefits from EU cooperation and reinvigorate the ENP for the next decade. 

Steven Blockmans is Head of the EU Foreign Policy research programme at CEPS. Bart Van Vooren is Assistant Professor of EU Law and European Integration at the University of Copenhagen.