Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Final Activity and Management Report Summary - EUFORPOL (The European Union as a Foreign Policy Actor: Shaping the New Neighbourhood)

This project set out to examine the evolving nature of the EU as a foreign policy actor. The case of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) provided a focus for the study. Many of the problems and weaknesses associated with the EU's endeavours to pursue a foreign and security policy, in terms of coherency, capacities, geographical concentration and a balance between Member States preferences can be found in the make-up of the ENP and its implementation over the past six years. This study investigated this assertion though a country case study approach, twinned with a focus upon a number of themes and policy areas, which emerged as key in the course of the research. The research yielded insights into the clear diversities in the EU's approaches to the Eastern and Southern neighbourhoods coined in the term 'organising the neighbourhood'.

In the South the EU supplemented bilateral relations with attempts at nurturing regionalism and cooperation between the states of the North African regions on economic and political levels, a strategy which brought mixed results. Meanwhile in the East the EU has hitherto been timid at region-building and has instead focused on developing relationships on bilateral bases, not least as a means to balance its strategic partnership with Russia, whose role in the region remains consequential. In terms of policies, the research centred, inter alia and to varying degrees, on mobility, visa and questions about the role and management of shared borders, the politics of energy supplies and energy efficiency as well as the state of play in free trade / deep free trade.

To summarise, and to greatly simplify, through an in-depth and comprehensive study of EU documentation, the positions of EU member states and reception of EU policies in selected recipient states in the neighbourhood, supplemented through field-work, the research revealed (a) inherent differences in the EU's approach to the South and the East on most key issues, including mobility, free trade questions and regional cooperation (b) the stark discrepancies between the expectations of certain neighbouring states and the EU's willingness to deliver and with this, the limited utility of enlargement-like conditionality to spur-on EU-inspired reforms without an actual option for membership (c) the evermore apparent weaknesses in ENP's professed comprehensive approach, of balancing Eastern and Southern neighbourhoods in one framework.

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