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European Neighbourhood Policy

European Neighbourhood Policy

What is it?

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) governs the EU's relations with 16 of the EU's closest Eastern and Southern Neighbours. To the South: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine*, Syria  and Tunisia and to the East: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Russia takes part in Cross-Border Cooperation activities under the ENP and is not a part of the ENP as such. 

The ENP has been launched in 2003 and developed throughout 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.

The ENP was reviewed in 2011, following the 'Arab Spring' uprisings. However, given the significant developments in the Neighbourhood since 2011, it became essential to undertake a further  review of the ENP. In this regard, a Joint Communication setting out the main lines of the review of the ENPpdf Choose translations of the previous link  has been published on 18 November 2015 following a public consultation, involving partner countries, international organisations, social partners, civil society and academia.

Under the revised ENP, stabilisation of the region, in political, economic, and security related terms, will be at the heart of the new policy. Moreover, the revised ENP puts a strong emphasis on two principles: the implementation of a differentiated approach to our Neighbours, to respect the different aspirations of our partners and to better answer EU interests and the interests of our partners; and an increased ownership by partner countries and Member States.

How is it funded?

The new European Neighbourhood Instrument(ENI)pdf (€15.4 billion for the period 2014-2020) is the main financial instrument for implementing the ENP. The ENI provides the bulk of EU funding to the 16 ENP partner countries. It builds on the achievements of the previous European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI)

How does it work?

The ENP review proposes revised joint priorities for cooperation, better suited to the challenges of our time and adapted to the regions evolutions. In addition to good governance, democracy, rule of law and human rights, three other sets of joint priorities have been identified, each of them covering a wide number of cooperation sectors: 1) economic development for stabilisation; 2) the security dimension and 3) migration and mobility.

Bilateral cooperation

The vast majority of ENI funding is used for bilateral cooperation, tailor-made to each Neighbourhood partner country. A key element in this context is the bilateral ENP Action Plans (AP), which is mutually agreed between the EU and each partner country. The AP sets out an agenda of political and economic reforms with short and medium-term priorities and serves as the political framework guiding the priorities for cooperation.

Regional, Neighbourhood-wide and Cross-Border Cooperation

In addition to bilateral cooperation, ENI funding also supports regional, Neighbourhood-wide and Cross Border Cooperation (CBC) programmes. These programmes are designed to complement bilateral cooperation programmes.

Support to Civil Society

A key element of the ENP is to strengthen and promote the role of civil society actors in reforms and democratic changes taking place in the Neighbourhood countries. In particular local civil society organisations and their capacity to engage with public authorities are being strengthened.

In addition to bilateral and regional cooperation under the ENI, various additional EU initiatives and programmes also support civil society in the region, such as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the Non-State Actors and Local Authorities thematic programme (NSA-LA) and the ENI Civil Society Facility.


* This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.

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Last update: 04/04/2016