What is the European Neighbourhood Policy?

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was developed in 2004, with the objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and our neighbours and instead strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all. It is based on the values of democracy, rule of law and respect of human rights.

This ENP framework is proposed to the 16 of EU's closest neighbours – Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine.

The ENP is chiefly a bilateral policy between the EU and each partner country. It  is further enriched and complemented by regional and multilateral co-operation initiatives: the Eastern Partnership (launched in Prague in May 2009), the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EUROMED) (the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, formerly known as the Barcelona Process, re-launched in Paris in July 2008), and the Black Sea Synergy (launched in Kiev in February 2008).

Within the ENP the EU offers our neighbours a privileged relationship, building upon a mutual commitment to common values (democracy and human rights, rule of law, good governance, market economy principles and sustainable development). The level of ambition of the relationship depends on the extent to which these values are shared. The ENP includes political association and deeper economic integration, increased mobility and more people-to-people contacts.

The ENP also offers to its partners a very concrete set of opportunities through its sector policies.  These cover a broad range of issues, reaching from employment and social policy, trade, industrial and competition policy to agriculture and rural development, climate change and environment.  They include energy security, transport, research and innovation, as well as support to health, education, culture and youth.

In 2010-2011, the EU reviewed the ENP and put a strong focus on the promotion of deep and sustainable democracy, accompanied by inclusive economic development. Deep and sustainable democracy includes in particular free and fair elections, freedom of expression, of assembly and of association, judicial independence, fight against corruption and democratic control over the armed forces. The EU also stressed the role of civil society bringing about deep and sustainable democracy. The EU unveiled "more for more" principle, under which the EU will develop stronger partnerships with those neighbours that make more progress towards democratic reform.

The ENP remains distinct from the process of enlargement although it does not prejudge, for European neighbours, how their relationship with the EU may develop in future, in accordance with Treaty provisions.

Did you know?

  • In 2011, total trade between the EU and its ENP partners was worth € 230 billion.
  • In 2007-2013, the EU provided partners with over € 12 billion in grant money for the implementation of the ENP.
  • The EU issued 3.2 million Schengen visas to ENP partners in 2012.