By rapporteur Andrzej Adamczyk
The EESC welcomes the Commission's review of the European Neighbourhood Policy, which aims to redefine its goals and general approach following dramatic developments in the EU's neighbourhood. The need to revise the ENP is, on the one hand, a result of the failure of the uniform "one size fits all" approach and, on the other, a consequence of ongoing fragmentation and decomposition of the relative uniformity of both the Southern and Eastern Neighbourhood.
The new ENP should acknowledge that the roots of the dramatic developments in those regions lie in both external pressure and internal instability, linked to poverty, inequality, lack of opportunities, corruption political and religious radicalisation as well as violent extremism. The intention in revising the ENP is to make it flexible enough to keep on board those countries which are not able or not willing to meet all the requirements related to economic integration or alignment with the acquis communautaire. In this sense the new ENP is designed in a spirit of inclusiveness.
The EESC understands that the new working method of differentiation reflects the sense of political realism, growing gaps between partner countries and their different aspirations. However, even if not all the economic criteria can be met, the EU must not compromise on the matter of fundamental European values, including social dimension, respect for universal human rights, democracy and rule of law. It is regrettable that the principle of respect for the ILO labour standards is not mentioned in the communication as a cornerstone of sound industrial relations. There is not enough emphasis on the role of organised civil society and autonomous social and civil dialogue. The objectives of the ENP, including stabilisation, will never be met without substantial involvement of independent organisations of civil society. We must never forget that the European integration is, above all, a peace project, and civil society is vitally interested in its success.