European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)

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. The ENP is a key part of the European Union's foreign policy.

Partner countries agree with the EU an ENP action plan or an Association Agenda 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. 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 Federica Mogherini and the involvement of the Commissioner specifically dealing with European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations European Neighbourhood Policy, Johannes Hahn.

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. The next reports are planned to be published on 25 March 2015.

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:

Differentiation

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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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.