The ENP Strategic Review: the EU and its neighbourhood at a crossroads
Analysis – 23 May 2011
by Sabine Fischer, Erwan Lannon
This note focuses on the ENP rather than on the strategic contexts in which the policy unfolds. Based on a realistic assessment of the EU’s limited capacities it argues that the definition of a clear endgame, an ‘association area’ along the EU’s current borders, would provide the ENP and the EU’s partners with a tangible medium-term goal. Clarity on the goal and timeframe of the policy would also allow for better coordination of the different elements of the policy (political and economic integration, democracy promotion, support for civil society, multilateral initiatives, conflict resolution).
While such a basic strategic vision would need to be adjusted to continuously unfolding developments, it could nonetheless function as a guideline for a more coherent, proactive and firm EU policy, both in relations with partner countries and in the interaction with other external actors. The events in North Africa once again demonstrate the magnitude of the challenges the EU faces in its neighbourhood. The review of the ENP provides a good occasion to equip the policy with a strategic vision on how to meet these challenges.