European Neighbourhood Policy Review: MEPs want to go «back to basics»

European Neighbourhood Policy Review: MEPs want to go «back to basics»

Creating an area of prosperity, stability, security and good neighbourliness must become again the guiding goals of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), Foreign Affairs MEPs said in a vote on Thursday. The EU must return “back to basics” and bring these objectives on top of its agenda, they say, underlining that the revised policy must be more political, differentiated and based on EU values and principles, democracy, rule of law and human rights.

More political ENP: case for special representatives

The renewed policy must be more strategic, focused, flexible and coherent, MEPs say, demanding that different challenges facing individual countries and their various aspirations be matched with a 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, MEPs add.

Boost the security dimension

The sharply deteriorating security environment in the EU neighbourhood calls for a strong security component in the ENP, matched with much needed policy tools, the committee argues. 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

Strong partnerships are needed with the EU neighbouring countries, MEPs say, arguing that the ENP must be part of the EU’s broader external policy and take into account the «neighbours of neighbours» who pursue their own influence over the EU neighbourhood.

They also point to the limited resources the EU allocates to its cooperation with its partners, especially when compared to the levels of resources invested by third countries there, and 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.

Next steps

The resolution, steered by Eduard Kukan (EPP, SK), and backed by the Foreign Affairs Committee by 49 votes to 6, with 5 abstentions, will be put to a plenary vote in July in Strasbourg.