The European Neighbourhood Policy: avoiding the emergence of dividing lines between the European Union and its neighbours
Developed in 2004, the European Neighbourhood Policy's (ENP) primary aim was to avoid the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged European Union and our neighbours and instead strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all.
Based on the values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights it was proposed to the 16 of the European Union'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 European Union and each partner country. It is further enriched and complemented by regional and multilateral co-operation initiatives such as the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EUROMED) (the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, formerly known as the Barcelona Process, re-launched in Paris in July 2008).
Within the ENP, the European Union offers our neighbours a privileged relationship, building upon a mutual commitment to common values (democracy and human rights, the 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.
In 2010-2011, the European Union 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 European Union also stressed the role of civil society bringing about deep and sustainable democracy. The European Union unveiled "more for more" principle, under which the European Union will develop stronger partnerships with those neighbours that make more progress towards democratic reform.
Closer to partners' needs: European Neighbourhood Policy under review
ENP is currently under revision through among other things the launch of a Joint Consultation Paper 'Towards a New Neighbourhood Policy' of 4 March 2015 issued jointly by the High Representative and the European Commission.
* This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of Council of Europe member States on this issue