Main points of REX/458 Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy opinion:
- The EESC welcomes the European External Action Service and the European Commission's Joint Communication on the Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
- With regard to the new priority of stabilisation and the new approach of differentiation, as set out in the Communication, the EESC would like to stress the importance of economic development as the main precondition for a stable and safe environment in the EU’s neighbourhood. The EU should be very consistent in providing economic support for the ENP partners and enhancing long-term conditions and motivation to pursue economic reforms, increase competitiveness and modernise business regulations.
- The EESC stresses that, 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, and regrets that the principle of respect for the ILO labour standards is not mentioned in the communication as a cornerstone of sound industrial relations.
- The Committee is of the view that there is not enough emphasis on the role of organised civil society and autonomous social and civil dialogue in the new policy document. 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.