European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)

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 Through its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the EU works with its southern and eastern neighbours to achieve the closest possible political association and the greatest possible degree of economic integration. This goal builds on common interests and on values — democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, and social cohesion..

Partner countries agree with the EU an ENP action plan demonstrating their commitment to democracy, human rights, rule of law, good governance, market economy principles and sustainable development. The EU supports the achievement of these objectives.

  • financial support – grants worth €12 bn were given to ENP-related projects from 2007 to 2013
  • economic integration and access to EU markets – in 2011 trade between the EU and its ENP partners totalled €230bn
  • easier travel to the EU – 3.2 m Schengen visas were issued to citizens, and in particular to students from ENP countries in 2012
  • technical and policy support

The EU also supports the civil society which plays an important role in bringing about deep and sustainable democracy in partner countries.

Joint initiative

The ENP is a jointly owned initiative and its implementation requires action on both sides, by the neighbours and by the EU. Although much was achieved so far much also remains to be done if the ENP’s goals are to be achieved. The ENP benefits from greater coherence thanks to the creation of the European External Action Service which supports the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Baroness Catherine Ashton and the involvement of the Commissioner specifically dealing with the Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle.

ENP countries

Of the 16 ENP countries:

12 are currently are already fully participating as partners in the ENP, having agreed on ENP action plans:

Action plans

The ENP action plans (or Association Agendas for Eastern partner countries)

  • set out the partner country's agenda for political and economic reforms, with short and medium-term priorities of 3 to 5 years
  • reflect the country's needs and capacities, as well as its and the EU’s interests.

Implementation & monitoring

The action plans build on existing legal agreements with the EU – partnership & cooperation agreements (PCAs) or association agreements (AAs). Implementation is monitored through committees set up by these agreements. Once a year, the European External Action Service and the European Commission publish ENP progress reports assessing the progress made towards the objectives of the Action Plans and the Association Agendas.

The European External Action Service and the European Commission publish yearly ENP progress reports.

More-for-more principle

At the last review of its European Neighbourhood Policy in 2010-11, the EU introduced the more-for-more principle: the EU will develop stronger partnerships and offer greater incentives to countries that make more progress towards democratic reform – free and fair elections, freedom of expression, of assembly and of association, judicial independence, fight against corruption and democratic control over the armed forces.

Multilateral partnerships

The ENP is chiefly a bilateral policy between the EU and each partner country. But it is complemented by regional and multilateral cooperation initiatives:


While the underlying principles and objectives of the ENP apply to all partners, the EU’s relationship with each one of its partners is unique, and the instruments of the ENP are tailored to serve each of those relationships. The ENP provides the EU with a toolbox of instruments that allows it to adapt and differentiate its policy, in line with the different developments, ambitions and needs of its partners.

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