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EU Foreign Policy towards its Neighbours: A Historic Opportunity to Deal with a Historic Mistake...?

Mor Sobol

The recently published EU Communications, namely 'A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity'and 'A new response to a changing Neighbourhood' provide us with the opportunity to reassess thedevelopment of EU foreign policy towards its periphery. This paper argues that these Communications couldbe seen as yet another unsuccessful attempt to find solutions for one historic mistake - the creation of theEuropean Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Taking a Principal Agent (PA) approach, the argument put forwardin this paper is that the geographical scope of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), its principles andinstruments are the product of power struggles between the member states (principals) and the EuropeanCommission (agent). More specifically, the paper maintains that during the formulation process of the ENP,the Commission has been successfully positioning itself in the front seat of the policy at the expense of themember states, or expressed in PA terms - 'agency shirking'. This has caused a chain reaction thatsignificantly affected the development of EU foreign policy towards its neighbourhood.

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