The Policy: How does the European Neighbourhood Policy work
Central to the ENP are the bilateral Action Plans between the EU and each ENP partner (12 of them were agreed). These set out an agenda of political and economic reforms with short and medium-term priorities of 3 to 5 years. ENP Action Plans reflect each partner's needs and capacities, as well as their and the EU’s interests. Even the names of the Action Plans vary to reflect each partner's particular situation and some are called 'Association Agendas'. The ENP is not yet fully ‘activated’ for Algeria, Belarus, Libya and Syria since those have not yet agreed Action Plans. An Action Plan with Algeria is currently under negotiation.
Under the ENP Action Plans the EU works together with its partners to develop democratic, socially equitable and inclusive societies, and offers its neighbours economic integration, improved circulation of people across borders, financial assistance and technical cooperation toward approximation with EU standards. The European Commission provides financial support in grant form to partners; the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development complement this support through loans. The civil society plays an important role in contributing to democracy and good governance building in partner countries. The EU supports organisations via the Civil Society Facility.
The ENP builds upon the legal agreements in place between the EU and the partner in question: Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCA) or Association Agreements (AA). Implementation of the ENP is jointly promoted and monitored through the Committees and sub-Committees established in the frame of these agreements. The European External Action Service and the European Commission publish each year the ENP Progress Reports. The assessments contained in the Progress Reports form the basis for EU policy towards each ENP partner under the "more for more" principle.
The 'more for more' principle applies to all incentives proposed by the EU: policy developments as well as to financial assistance (excluded humanitarian assistance, refugee & external borders funds and support to civil society). Partners determinedly embarking on political reforms should be offered, in addition to the incentives available to other partners, those that relate to the most ambitious elements of:
In that context, the Commission has decided to set up specific programmes both for the Eastern (EAPIC) and Southern (SPRING) neighbours that will allocate extra financial support only to those neighbours taking clear and concrete steps on political reforms. In addition, a new Civil Society Facility was created in September 2011 to strengthen the capacity of civil society to promote and monitor reforms, and increase public accountability.