Public Affairs Networking
New EU Neighbourhood Policy: “We should not forget values and principles most important to us”

The problems in Ukraine, Syria and Libya make it necessary to rethink the way the EU interacts with nearby countries.The EU is consulting on a new Neighbourhood Policy with partners in neighbouring countries and with stakeholders across the EU until the end of June. On 9 February the foreign affairs committee discusses the initiative with Johannes Hahn, the commissioner responsible for enlargement. We spoke with Slovakian EPP member Eduard Kukan, who is writing a report on the consultation.

The European Neighourhood Policy was designed in 2003 to develop closer relations between the EU and 16 neighbouring countries by supporting political and economic reforms.

The aim of the Neighbourhood Policy was to create a zone of shared prosperity and stability on our borders. With Libya, Syria and Ukraine all in turmoil, has the EU failed in its policies towards its neighbours?

I do not think that the EU has failed. It is true that the situation in some neighbouring counties is dramatic but the Neighbourhood Policy is a long term policy and despite the difficulties that may occur in some of these countries we have to focus on the main goal of creating build a neighbourhood with prosperous, secure and democratic countries, which would be also good for the EU.

In light of Russia’s increased assertiveness in our eastern neighbourhood, what should the objectives of the new Neighbourhood Policy be?

Russia is very active, causing a lot of problems in eastern Ukraine. In principle I do not think that it is good to compete with others for the countries surrounding the EU. We should enforce the ideas upon which the EU is built: democracy, care for human rights and so on.

What we have learnt from this recent experience with Russia is that for us the most important thing is not to forget the values and the principles that are most important to us. In that respect, we shall help to introduce new measures and tools to deal with neighbouring countries and also with other countries that would try to intervene in our neighbourhood.

The Neighbourhood Policy covers countries with different aspirations, values and interests. How can one policy be expected to encompass all of them?

It is a very important issue and this is going to be the subject for discussions and consultations which we will start now. We learnt that we must take the differences between countries more into account and we have to build a new tailor-made approach for each of them. Some of them would like to build closer relations with EU, while others would prefer much looser ties. It is in our interest to maintain and cultivate relationships with all of them, but we should to be more pragmatic and respect the different extent of their interests. I think the answer is keeping the common policy, but having many instruments to reflect the different situation in these countries. ©europeanunion2015-EP

No comments yet
Submit a comment

Policy and networking for the digital age
Policy Review TV Neil Stewart Associates
© Policy Review | Policy and networking for the digital age 2024 | Log-in | Proudly powered by WordPress
Policy Review EU is part of the NSA & Policy Review Publishing Network