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European Commission - Press release

Towards a new European Neighbourhood Policy: the EU launches a consultation on the future of its relations with neighbouring countries.

Brussels, 04 March 2015

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Federica Mogheriniand Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn are launching today a consultation on the future of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The ENP was last reviewed in 2011. Given the significant developments in the neighbourhood since then, it is now essential to undertake a fundamental review of the principles on which the policy is based as well as its scope and how its instruments should be used.

“The EU has a vital interest in building strong partnerships with its neighbours. Recent developments in the region have increased the challenges we all face: from economic pressures to irregular migration and security threats. We need a strong policy to be able to tackle these issues. We also need to understand better the different aspirations, values and interests of our partners. This is what the review is about if we are to have a robust political relationship between our neighbours and us.” said High Representative/ Vice President Federica Mogherini.

"It's in the EU's own interests to develop peace, stability and prosperity on its borders. The review will help us work more effectively to achieve these goals. I want to see a more equal partnership and one that brings results." added Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

The aim is to consult as widely as possible both with partners in the neighbouring countries and with stakeholders across the EU until the end of June. After this consultation, a Communication setting out proposals for the future direction of the ENP will follow in the autumn.

The consultation will follow four priorities: differentiation; focus; flexibility; ownership & visibility. Five areas where both sides share common interests have already been identified: trade and economic development; connectivity; security; governance; migration and mobility.

Background on the consultation:

President Juncker has indicated that the ENP will be reviewed within the first year of the new Commission's mandate. To frame the debate, a joint consultation paper by the European Commission and the High Representative was adopted on 4 March 2015, setting out some preliminary findings in terms of lessons learnt from ENP to date, as well as key questions for discussion with partners and stakeholders.

Background on ENP:

Article 8(1) of the Treaty on European Union states that 'the Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation'.

The ENP was designed in 2003 to develop closer relations between the EU and its neighbouring countries. It covers to the South: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia; to the East: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The objective of the ENP, revised in 2011 following the events in the Arab world, is to support partners who undertake reforms towards democracy, rule of law and human rights; to contribute to their inclusive economic development and to promote a partnership with societies alongside the relations with governments. The renewed ENP is strengthening cooperation in the political and security spheres, to support economic and social development, creation of growth and jobs, boosting trade and enhance cooperation in other sectors.

The new European Neighbourhood Instrument(ENI), with a budget of €15.4 billion for the period 2014-2020, provides the bulk of funding to the 16 ENP partner countries. The incentive-based approach provides for flexibility in modulating financial assistance on the basis of progress of individual countries towards democracy and respect of human rights.

For more information:

Joint consultation paper ''Towards a new European Neighbourhood Policy:

http://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/consultation/consultation.pdf

Consultation webpage:

http://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/consultation/index_en.htm

European Commission website on Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations:

http://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement

Website of European External Action Service:

http://eeas.europa.eu/enp/index_en.htm

European Neighbourhood Info Centre:

http://www.enpi-info.eu/

IP/15/4548

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