The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was developed in 2004, with the objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours and instead strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all. It is based on the values of democracy, rule of law and respect of human rights.
This ENP framework is proposed to 16 EU's closest neighbours – Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine.
Within the ENP the EU offers its neighbours a privileged relationship, building upon a mutual commitment to common values (democracy and human rights, rule of law, good governance, market economy principles and sustainable development). The level of ambition of the relationship depends on the extent to which these values are shared. The ENP includes political association and deeper economic integration, increased mobility and more people-to-people contacts.
The ENP also offers to its partners a very concrete set of opportunities through its sector policies. These cover a broad range of issues, reaching from employment and social policy, trade, industrial and competition policy to agriculture and rural development, climate change and environment. They include energy security, transport, research and innovation, as well as support to health, education, culture and youth.
In 2010-2011, the EU reviewed the ENP and put a strong focus on the promotion of deep and sustainable democracy, accompanied by inclusive economic development. Deep and sustainable democracy includes in particular free and fair elections, freedom of expression, of assembly and of association, judicial independence, fight against corruption and democratic control over the armed forces. The EU also stressed the role of civil society bringing about deep and sustainable democracy. The EU unveiled "more for more" principle, under which the EU will develop stronger partnerships with those neighbours that make more progress towards democratic reform.
A key element of the Neighbourhood Policy is the bilateral ENP Action Plan mutually agreed between the EU and each partner country. The Action Plan sets out an agenda of political and economic reforms with short and medium-term priorities. It is preceded by the Country Report.
The European Commission first prepares country reports covering the political, economic, social and institutional situation in each country and progress in the implementation of bilateral agreements and reforms. The reports assess when and how it is possible to deepen relations with that country.
Neighbourhood Policy covers the following spares:
- Harmonization of standards and regulations;
- Granting of preferential treatment for trade, to easy access to the EU market;
- Developing the foundations for free movement and migration of human resources;
- Enhancing cooperation in security issues, such as terrorism, Trans -national organized crime, drug trafficking, money laundering and Corruption;
- EU’s active engagement in Conflict Resolution and Crisis Management;
- Deepening cooperation in human rights and culture spares;
- Integrating participant states to EU transport, energy and telecommunications networks, as well as European Research Area;
- Creating new instruments for promoting and protecting the investments;
- Providing assistance focused on needs of each states;
- Finding new sources of funding, including availability to the loans of European Investment Bank (EIB).