Policy Paper 68
 

Potential and limits of EU policies in the neighbourhood

Michele Comelli, Senior Fellow, Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) —
Contrary to the premises on which it was launched back in 2003, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has underperformed in many ways. While democratisation in Eastern Europe has lapsed, a number of Southern Mediterranean countries overthrew their ruling autocrats, but the EU had no role in that. The EU revised the ENP in 2011, but the revision looks unimpressive. In particular, conditionality appears unlikely to work in countries where reforms have been an endogenous product. New challenges have also emerged from the new economic and strategic context. Internally, the crisis has absorbed significant energy and resources, plus Member States tend not only to bypass common external policies, but possibly stand in the way of implementing Lisbon Treaty foreign policy provisions. Externally, other actors have emerged in the EU neighbourhood, while neighbouring countries and their citizens no longer necessarily look at the EU as a model and final foreign policy goal. The EU should adopt a political, not technocratic approach to its periphery, get Member States to support common policies, and seek ad hoc cooperation with new powers in the area, like Turkey. A strategic and proactive approach to the neighbourhood is needed, one that looks at the opportunities for the EU, and not just at the challenges and threats.

|   15/02/2013             |   Michele Comelli             |   Europe in the world
Policy Paper
This Policy Paper is a contribution of Michele Comelli (IAI), to the project Think Global – Act European (TGAE). Thinking strategically about the EU’s external action directed by Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute (report available in March 2013, dir. Elvire Fabry, Senior Research Fellow, Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute).

Contrary to the premises on which it was launched back
in 2003, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has underperformed in many
ways. While democratisation in Eastern Europe has lapsed, a number of Southern
Mediterranean countries overthrew their ruling autocrats, but the EU had no
role in that. The EU revised the ENP in 2011, but the revision looks unimpressive.
In particular, conditionality appears unlikely to work in countries where
reforms have been an endogenous product. New challenges have also emerged from
the new economic and strategic context. Internally, the crisis has absorbed significant
energy and resources, plus Member States tend not only to bypass common
external policies, but possibly stand in the way of implementing Lisbon Treaty
foreign policy provisions. Externally, other actors have emerged in the EU
neighbourhood, while neighbouring countries and their citizens no longer
necessarily look at the EU as a model and final foreign policy goal. The EU
should adopt a political, not technocratic approach to its periphery, get
Member States to support common policies, and seek ad hoc cooperation
with new powers in the area, like Turkey. A strategic and proactive approach to
the neighbourhood is needed, one that looks at the opportunities for the EU,
and not just at the challenges and threats.

Before the publication of the final report presenting the key recommendations of the 16 think tanks involved in the project, 5 series of policy papers address the following key challenges: EU neighbourhood, CSDP, strategic resources, migration and economic policy.

This Policy Paper is part of the series entitled
“How to make out of its neighbourhood an opportunity for the EU itself?” which
includes contributions by Haizam Amirah Fernández (Elcano Royal Institute) and Timo Behr (Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute), Christophe Hillion(SIEPS), Lucia Najšlová (Europeum), Vera Rihácková (Europeum), Olga Shumylo-Tapiola (Carnegie Europe), Adam Balcer (demosEuropa).
Go to the other contributions of the neighbourhood series >>

The project is led with the support of the