News

EU launches ‘new and ambitious’ European Neighbourhood Policy

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, and Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, today launched a “new and ambitious” European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), backed by more than €1.2 billion in new funding, bringing the total to almost €7 billion and confirming the EU’s determined and reinforced engagement with its neighbours.
 
Today's proposal by the European External Action Service and the European Commission to Member States and the European Parliament sets out the main priorities and directions of a revitalised ENP strategy, which seeks to strengthen individual and regional relationships between the EU and countries in its neighbourhood through a ‘more funds for more reform’ approach – making more additional funds available, but with more mutual accountability.
 
On top of the €5.7 billion already allocated for the period 2011-2013, additional funding of €1.24 billion has been transferred from other existing resources, and will now be made available in support of the ENP, Ashton announced.
 
In addition, she said the European Council had agreed to her proposal to increase European Investment Bank (EIB) lending to the Southern Mediterranean by €1 billion over the same period. The EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) also backed her request to extend their operations into the southern Mediterranean region, starting with Egypt. Their expectation is that annual lending volumes could reach around €2.5 billion a year by 2013.
 
Announcing the policy review, HR Ashton stressed how important the neighbourhood was to the European Union, quoting the first line of the document: “To the East and South of the European Union (EU) lie sixteen countries whose hopes and futures make a direct and significant difference to us.”
 
“With so much of our Neighbourhood in a process of democratic change,” she went on to say, “this review is more important than ever. It is vital that we in the EU make a comprehensive offer to our neighbours and build lasting partnerships in our neighbourhood.”
 
The High Representative described the new approach as “a partnership between peoples aimed at promoting and supporting the development of deep democracy and economic prosperity in our neighbourhood”. Stressing that the policy did not offer a one-size-fits-all, but tailor-made support, she said the EU would make funding available for its neighbourhood partners, “to support and match the speed of political and economic reform they wish to make.”
 
Commissioner Štefan Füle emphasized that many of Europe’s neighbours were engaging in a transformation process out of which they wanted to emerge as more democratic and more prosperous societies. “The EU needs to respond with determination and ambition, through a new approach to the ENP, drawing the right lessons from our experience so far and addressing the challenges of a fast-changing neighbourhood.”
 
He too underlined the much higher level of differentiation, ensuring that each partner could develop its links with the EU, “as far as its own aspirations, needs and capacities allow”.
 
“Increased EU support to its neighbours is conditional,” said Füle. “It will depend on progress in building and consolidating democracy and respect for the rule of law. The more and the faster a country progresses in its internal reforms, the more support it will get from the EU.”
 
The renewed ENP builds on the achievements the EU's Neighbourhood Policy since it was first launched in 2004, offering new types of support for more sections of society, and introducing more incentives to pursue reform.
 
Today's Communication is a culmination of an extensive review and consultation with governments and civil society organizations both within the EU and in the 16 ENP partner countries to Europe’s South and East. It further develops the ‘Partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the southern Mediterranean’, which was agreed in March 2011, in immediate response to the upheaval and democratic aspiration currently being seen in North Africa.  It also builds upon the Eastern Partnership, launched in 2009. (ENPI Info Centre)
 
Read more
 
Press release
 
Background memo
 
A new response to a changing Neighbourhood – Joint Communication by the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs
 
Ashton and Füle press conference – video coverage
 
ENPI Info Centre – Barroso announces extra €1.2 billion for Europe’s neighbours
 
European Neighbourhood Policy

 

 


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