Towards a new European neighbourhood policy

EESC opinion: Towards a new European neighbourhood policy

Composition of the study group


Administrator in charge: Mr Georges Henry Carrard| /Assistant: Ms Fernanda Rondao Brito.


Key points:

  • The current European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) does not reflect reality in the EU’s neighbourhood and it has faced a lot of challenges, which were not properly addressed. Fundamental changes to the ENP mechanism and instruments are needed.
  • The ENP countries have differing foreign policy priorities and ambitions for their relationship with the EU. The EESC therefore stresses the need to apply the principles of differentiation and flexibility. At the same time, the EESC emphasises that the acceptance of democratic values and respect for human rights should be applicable to all states, as applying double standards would demoralise other ENP countries.
  • The new ENP should focus on activities that strive to increase human security and the stability of the EU’s neighbourhood, as well as activities which create better economic and social conditions – and prosperity – in the ENP partner states. The main objective of the renewed ENP should be to ensure the security of the people and to secure their prospect of leading a dignified and prosperous life in their country, free of violence, oppression and poverty.
  • The EESC also recommends that civil society's role must be further enhanced in three main ways: by empowering civil society, rendering it better able to support stabilisation and democratisation processes; including civil society organisations more in ENP related commitments and activities and finally, making better use of European civil society's expertise and resources to support the development of civil society in the ENP countries. Moreover compliance with fundamental human and social rights – in particular, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining – need to be fully recognised. Social dialogue should also be encouraged in both the eastern and southern dimensions of the ENP.