The ENP from the Perspective of the Member States: Damning with Faint Praise?

Amelia Hadfield

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has had a variable reception by the EU Member States. Some view it as a necessary method by which the EU can increase its strategic depth, others as a mid-range way of engaging over the long-term with key neighbours, while others remain deeply sceptical of its merits. While key regional patrons like Germany and France may continue to see some of the regional virtues inherent in the ENP, and its various subgroups, both the March 2015 appraisal, and the November 2015 Review made clear that the current structure of the ENP is unfit for purpose, and in need of a thorough overhaul. This paper considers the regional imperatives of the ENP in its original and current form, and the way in which these have operated to project, support, or complicate the foreign policy views of the EU Member States, both in tandem with EU-level objectives in the area, and independently of it. The pragmatic pivot which the ENP appears to be undergoing may be a welcome relief to many EU Member States, who found the cultivation of a ring of southern and eastern friends either too ambitious or simply impractical. For others, it may spell an end to the fundamentally values-driven ethos at the heart of much EU foreign policy, reconfiguring in low-key, low-cost, low-engagement terms the original attempts to foster stability, security and prosperity in what was once considered a shared neighbourhood.





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