Tuesday, 2 September 2008

ENP - getting along with the neighbours

The European Neighbourhood Policy - or ENP as Eurocrats love their EU jargon - was developed in 2004. It was formulated shortly before the "Big Bang" when the EU was about to expand eastwards to include 8 former communist countries and to the south with the two Mediterranean islands of Cyprus and Malta.

In short, the EU was looking to its new southern and eastern neighbours and wanted to strengthen prosperity, stability and security - in the interest of all concerned.

The ENP encompasses Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine. Working towards "deeper political relationship" and "economic integration" - those are the buzzwords, even if some of these countries do not have a specific EU outlook or any intention of ever joining the European Union.

The central element of the European Neighbourhood Policy is the bilateral ENP Action Plan agreed between the EU and each partner. It's probably no surprise that Belarus, Syria and Libya haven't signed one of those... and ah, Russia hasn't done so either, but that's a whole different chapter...

Anyway, I've spent today in Brussels being briefed on the ins and outs of the ENP, on the results of the EU emergency Caucasus summit and the wider political implications for the region. It's quite an interesting time traveling to Yerevan. I'll keep you posted!


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