European Neighbourhood Policy

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is a foreign relations instrument of the European Union (EU) which seeks to tie those countries to the east and south of the EU into the EU. These countries, primarily developing countries, include many who seek one day to become either member states of the European Union itself, or generally more closely integrated with the economy of the European Union.

The EU offers financial assistance to countries within the European Neighbourhood, so long as they meet the strict conditions of government reform, economic reform and other issues surrounding positive transformation. This process is normally underpinned by an Action Plan, as agreed by both Brussels and the target country. The ENP does not cover countries which are in the current EU enlargement agenda, the European Free Trade Association or the western European microstates.

The EU typically concludes Association Agreements in exchange for commitments to political, economic, trade, or human rights reform in a country. In exchange, the country may be offered tariff-free access to some or all EU markets (industrial goods, agricultural products, etc), and financial or technical assistance.

History

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (or Barcelona Process) is a wide framework of political, economic and social relations between member states of the EU and countries of the Southern Mediterranean. It was initiated on 27–28 November 1995 through a conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, held in Barcelona. Besides the 27 member states of the European Union, the remaining "Mediterranean Partners" are all other Mediterranean countries without Libya (which has had 'observer status' since 1999). Since the establishment of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument in 2007 the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership initiative will become fully a part of the wider European Neighbourhood Policy. The *ENPI Info Centre was launched in January 2009 by the European Commission to make more known the relationship between the EU and its Neighbours.

The Association Agreements signed with the Mediterranean states aim at establishing of a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area. Earlier, the EU's neighbourhood policy was realized through New Neighbours (2002) and Wider Europe (2002–2004) initiatives.

According to the European Union's official site, the objective of the ENP is to share the benefits of the EU’s 2004 enlargement with neighbouring countries. It is also designed to prevent the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours. The vision is that of a ring of countries, drawn into further integration, but without necessarily becoming full members of the European Union. The policy was first outlined by the European Commission in March 2003. The countries covered include all of the Mediterranean shores of Africa and Asia, as well as the European CIS states (with the exception of Russia and Kazakhstan) in the Caucasus and Eastern Europe. Russia insisted on the creation of the four EU-Russia Common Spaces instead of ENP participation.

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry has expressed interest in the ENP[1] and some MEPs have also discussed Kazakhstan's inclusion in the ENP http://www.charlestannock.com/speech.asp?id=1150.

Agreements

In recent history, such agreements are signed as part of two EU policies: Stabilisation and Association process (SAp) and European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The countries of the Mediterranean and the East European EU neighbours (including South Caucasus, but excluding Russia that insists on creating four EU-Russia Common Spaces) are covered by ENP through the External Relations directorate-general. In the ENP Association Agreements (as in similar AAs signed with Mexico and other states) there is no mention of EU membership—this is a concern only to the European ENP states, because for the Mediterranean it is obvious that they cannot join the union in its current form because they are not located in Europe. The ENP AAs are similar to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreements signed with CIS states in the 1990s and to the multiple other AAs governing the relations between the EU and other third countries. The ENP stipulates that after signing of AA with a particular country the EU will make a Country Report and then the two sides will agree on an Action Plan drafted by the EU (including particular reforms, actions and also aid by the EU) for the next three to five years.

Both the SAA and ENP AP are based mostly on the EU's acquis communautaire and its promulgation in the cooperating states legislation. Of course the depth of the harmonisation is less than for full EU members and some policy areas may not be covered (depending on the particular state).

There are some indications http://euobserver.com/9/22092 that the ENP countries may be divided into two groups—European states with explicitly stated EU membership possibility for the long term and Mediterranean states with no such statement in the Action Plans. This division is obvious in the two groups for multilateral activities that are meant to supplement the bilateral ENP Action Plans—the Eastern Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean.

Association Agreements have to be ratified by all the EU member states. AA signed with the Mediterranean states also include a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the third country. For the East European EU neighbours covered by the ENP such provisions are expected for some of the next Action Plan periods.

Progress


ENP partner
EU contract FTA provisions Country Report Action Plan Adoption by the EU Adoption by the ENP partner AP duration CFSP invitation [2] EU aspiration [3] Sub-group
Morocco AA, March 2000 Yes May 2004 End 2004 21.2.2005 27.7.2005 3–5 years No No South
Algeria AA, September 2005 Yes Under development (2010) South
Tunisia AA, March 1998 Yes May 2004 End 2004 21.2.2005 4.7.2005 3–5 years No No South
Libya colspan="9"/> (2010). South
Egypt AA, June 2004 Yes March 2005 End 2006 5.3.2007 6.3.2007 3–5 years No No South
Jordan AA, May 2002 Yes May 2004 End 2004 21.2.2005 11.1.2005 3–5 years Yes [4] No South
Lebanon AA, April 2006 Yes March 2005 Autumn 2006 17.10.2006 19.1.2007 5 years No No South
Syria colspan="9">Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2008, signature by the EU Council and ratification pending. Syria also delayed signature in 2009. The EU expects full cooperation with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. (2010) South
Israel AA, June 2000 Yes May 2004 End 2004 21.2.2005 11.4.2005 3+ [5] years No No South
Palestinian Authority Interim AA, July 1997 Yes May 2004 End 2004 21.2.2005 4.5.2005 3–5 years No No South
Mauritania As one of the ACP countries Mauritania is in the process of negotiating the West African Economic Partnership Agreement, but notwithstanding this it is a full member of the Union for the Mediterranean. South
Moldova PCA, July 1998 No May 2004 End 2004 21.2.2005 22.2.2005 3 years Yes Yes East
Ukraine PCA, March 1998 No May 2004 End 2004 21.2.2005 21.2.2005 3 years Yes [6] Yes East
Belarus EU considers the Belarus authorities too undemocratic; PCA ratification procedure suspended since 1997[7][8][9]. East
Georgia PCA, July 1999 No March 2005 Autumn 2006 13.11.2006 14.11.2006 5 years Yes Yes East
Armenia PCA, July 1999 No March 2005 Autumn 2006 13.11.2006 14.11.2006 5 years Yes Yes East
Azerbaijan PCA, July 1999 No March 2005 Autumn 2006 13.11.2006 14.11.2006 5 years Yes Yes East
Russia PCA, December 1997 No opted to cooperate through the formation of EU-Russia Common Spaces instead of the ENP. Roadmap (Action Plan substitute) adopted in May 2005 http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/russia/common_spaces/index_en.htm No No
Kazakhstan PCA, July 1999 No the Kazakh Foreign Ministry has expressed interest in the ENP http://www.eu.int/comm/external_relations/kazakhstan/intro/index.htm. Some MEPs also discussed Kazakhstan's inclusion in the ENP http://www.charlestannock.com/speech.asp?id=1150.

(brackets): expected date
sources: http://europa.eu.int/comm/world/enp/pdf/050523_extra_update_faq.pdf, http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/05/1467&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en, ENP official page http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/index_en.htm