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.
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.
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.
|EU contract||FTA provisions||Country Report||Action Plan||Adoption by the EU||Adoption by the ENP partner||AP duration||CFSP invitation ||EU aspiration ||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|
|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 ||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+  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 ||Yes||East|
|Belarus||EU considers the Belarus authorities too undemocratic; PCA ratification procedure suspended since 1997.||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