The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has been rebooted. Launched in 2003 to strengthen relations with Eastern and Southern neighbour countries around Europe, the ENP has been criticised for years as unresponsive and having a “one-size-fits-all” approach. The revised ENP aims to be more dynamic, more tailored to individual countries, and more supportive of democratic reforms and sustainable economic development. Will it make a difference?
Can the revised ENP help promote stability? In the last few years, there has unfortunately been no shortage of conflicts in Europe’s neighbourhood; from Israel and Palestine to Armenia and Azerbaijan, the EU’s foreign policy towards such neighbourhood conflicts has often been criticised as passive, slow, and unresponsive.
I am aware that the EU has a Neighbourhood policy. However, oftentimes there seems to be an understatement or denial of problems close to EU borders which could have negative repercussions for the EU.
What do our readers think? We had a comment from Carla wondering why the EU’s neighbourhood policy has failed. She points out that it’s unfair to blame the EU entirely:
Certainly the [ENP] didn’t bring the results it was deisgned for, but we cannot disregard the global situation, the inequalities which conduct a paramount role in today’s crisis across the world. Mantaining stabile and prosperous neighours was a forward-looking and remarkable policy. The problem is that after many enlargements Europe should have focused more in safeguarding the new member states, enhance democracy and economic stability there. In addition countries like Russia operated to destabilize Eastern Europe (Georgia, Moldova,etc), not to mention the rise of islamists terroritic groups in Africa and MIddle East.
We also had Jovan, who wonders why the EU should care about conflicts going on in its neighbourhood:
[Armenia] aid in the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, but who cares?
To get a response, we put these questions to Karen Melchior, an MEP with the liberal Renew Europe group, and Anna-Michelle Assimakopoulou, an MEP with the centre-right European People’s Party. You can see their responses in the video at the top of this post.
Is the EU too passive in conflicts in its neighbourhood? Should the EU stay out of neighbouring conflicts? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!