The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) must return to its original aim of creating an area of prosperity, stability, security and good neighbourliness, Parliament said on Thursday. The EU must go “back to basics” and place these goals at the top of its agenda, say MEPs. They stress that the revised policy must be more political, differentiated and based on EU values and principles, democracy, the rule of law and human rights.
“Setting an ambitious and forward-looking neighbourhood policy right is currently one of the greatest challenges in the EU’s external relations. And more than ever, we need a more politically driven policy. The EU has to show leadership and vision in its neighbourhood as only a democratic, secure, stable and prosperous neighbourhood can guarantee us all better prospects for the future,” said Eduard Kukan (EPP, SK), who steered the resolution through Parliament.
More political ENP: case for special representatives
The renewed policy must be more strategic, focused, flexible and coherent, says Parliament. It calls for the different challenges facing individual countries and their various aspirations to be matched with differentiated and better targeted EU support. To ensure the political coordination of the revised ENP, the text calls for the appointment of special representatives for the East and the South, who would be more engaged in all EU action in the neighbourhood.
It also asks for support for democracy, the rule of law, good governance, state-building, human rights and fundamental freedoms to be at the centre of the ENP. The EU and its member states should offer incentives and know-how for undertaking and supporting democratic reforms, in accordance with “more for more” principles, Parliament adds.
Boost the security dimension
The sharply deteriorating security environment in the EU’s neighbourhood calls for a strong security component in the ENP, matched with much needed policy tools, says the resolution. The EU must develop capacities to broaden its spectrum of crisis management tools, support its neighbours in building proper security structures and promote joint initiatives of its neighbours in the security field, MEPs say.
Build strong partnerships
Parliament stresses that the ENP must be part of the EU’s broader external policy and take into account the “neighbours of neighbours” who seek to pursue their own interests in the EU’s neighbourhood. They also insist that the EU must match its ambitions of reinforced engagement in its neighbourhood with sufficient funding, namely through the upcoming 2017 review of its external financing instruments.
The resolution was passed by 460 votes to 61, with 55 abstentions.