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European Commission - Fact Sheet

European Neighbourhood Policy reviewed and explained

Brussels, 18 November 2015

ENP Review

Why a review of the ENP policy?

Since its launch in 2004, the ENP has evolved considerably. Over time, our offer was stepped up significantly, to include visa free regimes, Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas offering massive access to the EU market, the possibility to participate in EU programmes and much more. But there have also been radical changes in a large number of the countries that surround the EU. We see conflicts and political tension in the region, which also affect the EU.

We have conducted this review in order to propose how the EU and its neighbours can build more effective partnerships in the Neighbourhood.

During the consultation, most interlocutors wished to see some form of a common policy framework for the eastern and southern neighbourhood. However there was a clear demand for change, with more tailor-made, more differentiated partnerships between the EU and each of its neighbouring partners to reflect different ambitions, abilities and interests.

What does the new focus on 'stabilisation' mean?

  • The EU's own stability is built on democracy, human rights and the rule of law and the new ENP will take stabilisation as its main political priority in this mandate.
  • When the ENP was launched, the primary goal was the promotion of political and economic reforms, jointly agreed with partner countries and supported by EU assistance. Today, a number of our partner countries are subject to threats that hinder reform and weaken state institutions.
  • More effective ways will be sought to promote accountable and just governance. Economic development (and in particular the prospects for young people) will be prioritised andhighlighted as a key to stabilising societies in the neighbourhood. A new component of security will be set up, given that during the consultations held before the summer break on the ongoing ENP review we heard strong calls from stakeholders asking the EU to do more on security.

What does 'differentiation' mean?

  • Differentiation implies that we will move away from the 'one size fits all' approach and develop partnerships that are tailor made with each of our neighbourhood partners to reflect different ambitions and interests.

What are you doing on economic development?

  • Economic and social development should be at the heart of the EU's contribution to stabilising the neighbourhood and building partnerships. This is key to developing the country's economic resilience. The reviewed ENP will focus on enhancing economic governance, and supporting structural reforms for improved competitiveness.
  • The modernisation of the economy, fostering innovation, the creation of jobs and boosting skills and promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion are other key aspects.

What are you proposing on employment and education?

  • We propose to focus on jobs and skills, particularly for young men and women.
  • We will step up support for Erasmus +, including a higher level of funding.
  • We will create new opportunities to support vocational education and training.
  • We will also promote international skills migration ('brain circulation') through incentive schemes for people who have studied or acquired skills in Europe to return to their home country (new 'Startback Fund').

What are you going to do on the migration crisis?

  • The strong interest of partners in greater mobility towards the EU is confirmed by the consultation, which took place at a moment of major flows of migrants and refugees often transiting neighbouring countries. The ENP will reflect an intensified cooperation on both regular and irregular migration.
  • We will seek to:
    • Increase cooperation on root causes of migration;
    • Improve cooperation on returns;
    • Increase support for those receiving and assisting refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs);
    • Increase cooperation with partners beyond the neighbourhood.

What is the new security dimension about?

  • The ENP review is a major opportunity to significantly step up our security related cooperation with neighbouring partner countries – in order to better fulfil the objectives of the ENP, namely the support of stability, security, and prosperity in the neighbourhood.
  • Today, a number of our partner countries are subject to threats that hinder reform and weaken state institutions. Today's conflicts present a risk of violence spreading in the neighbourhood and beyond.
  • Given specific security challenges our partners are facing, we will focus on enhancing cooperation on security sector reform. An increasingly pressing priority will also be border security. Additionally, as set out in the European Agenda on Security, our efforts will prioritise tackling terrorism and preventing radicalisation; disrupting organise crime; and fighting cybercrime, in full compliance with international law, including international human rights law.
  • Support to partner countries on the security dimension will be firmly grounded in key principles such as respect of fundamental freedoms and human rights, good governance, democratic principles and the rule of law.

Will the ENP Review deal with the threat of terrorism?

  • The threat of terrorism and radicalisation is affecting both Europe and its neighbours. The new ENP will take stabilisation as its main political priority. In matters where the EU is competent, it will reach out to partner country authorities with a view to substantially increase cooperation on security matters.
  • Anti-radicalisation strategies will be key in this context. We will engage more on policies for young people, in particular on education and employment. Involving civil society, especially youth organisations, will be crucial.
  • The existing Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) and its recently established Centre of Excellence will be a crucial platform for exchange and cooperation. Tackling broader issues such as ineffective justice, gender inequality, hate speech, youth unemployment, and illiteracy will all also be part of a wider de-radicalisation effort.
  • In addition, we propose to increase work with partner countries on counter-terrorism activities, including the fight against organised crime and the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.
  • We will seek to improve judicial and police cooperation with partner countries; work with Europol, Interpol, and Eurojust to build further law enforcement capacity in neighbourhood countries, better judicial cooperation, and facilitate information exchange.

What about the human rights agenda?

  • The EU will engage with all partners in an inclusive dialogue on human rights and democracy issues, including gender, covering also areas where experiences may differ. Human rights and democracy will continue to be an agenda item in our political dialogue with all partners in mutually agreed formats.

Which funds are available for reviewed ENP?

  • The EU has committed substantial resources to support the major stabilisation challenge in the neighbourhood, with over €15 billion being available through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) over the period 2014-20.

Will there be any reporting?

  • There will no longer be a single set of progress reports on all countries simultaneously. Instead the EU will seek to develop a new style of assessment, focusing specifically on meeting the goals agreed with partners.
  • These reports will be timed to provide the basis for a political exchange of views in the relevant high-level meetings with partner countries, such as Association/Cooperation Councils.
  • In addition, regular reports will track developments in the neighbourhood. These reports will contain information on fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, gender equality and human rights issues.

Is the ENP review changing EU's approach to the Eastern Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean?

  • No. The 2015 EaP Summit in Riga listed the strengthening of institutions and good governance, mobility and people-to-people contacts, market opportunities and interconnections as shared priorities which will be taken forward with partners, including in the multilateral framework of the EaP.
  • Regional cooperation in the Southern neighbourhood has seen progress through the Union for the Mediterranean. The organisation has proved to be a valuable forum for political and economic discussion. The EU will give priority, wherever suitable, to the UfM in its regional cooperation efforts.


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