Assessing the European neighbourhood policy

Artem Remizov, Hrant Kostanyan, Steven Blockmans, Linda Slapakova, Guillaume Van der Loo

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is a key priority within the European Union’s foreign policy. Many events in the past few years have shown that the interests of European citizens are directly affected by the stability, security and prosperity of the European Union’s neighbouring regions. At the same time, the Union and its member states face many challenges and dilemmas in designing and pursuing a policy that not only effectively promotes these interests, but also builds stronger partnerships with the neighbouring countries based on the values on which the Union is founded.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands is committed to contributing to a more effective, efficient and coherent foreign policy of the European Union. In light of this commitment, the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB) has embarked upon a policy evaluation of the Netherlands’contribution to the ENP, focusing on these three dimensions. Apart from providing public accountability for the policy pursued, this evaluation aims to draw lessons for the future.The IOB has commissioned this literature review, performed by CEPS in Brussels, as one of the building blocks of its policy evaluation. The academic literature on the ENP is extensive and multidisciplinary, dating back to the policy’s inception in 2003. First the Arab revolts and then Russia’s assertiveness in the eastern neighbourhood prompted reviews of the ENP, in 2011 and 2015 respectively. These reviews have renewed scholarly interest in the ENP. However, despite a rapidly growing body of literature, there was no systematic review available that catalogued and assessed the explanatory variables used by ENP scholars.By focusing on the recent literature (since 2011), this review by CEPS deliberately identifies the factors that explain the (lack of) effectiveness and coherence of the ENP. This exercise has resulted in a rich overview of and informed reflection on a wide variety of ENP-related themes. The study identifies where there is consensus among scholars and where perspectives and judgement differ. It also identifies several gaps in the literature where further research is needed. 

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This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.