European Neighbourhood Policy - Eastern Dimension


European Neighbourhood Policy - Eastern Dimension

Recent tectonic changes in the EU Southern Neighbourhood made us realise that EU policy, although focused on building peace and security as well as on strengthening prosperity and stability at the EU borders, has not reached its deliverables and therefore must be fundamentally redesigned. We welcome in this respect the March Joint Communication on A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean (COM(2011)200) setting a new approach rooted in a joint commitment to shared values. We also took due note of the letter and attached non-paper of the French, Greek, Spanish, Cypriot, Slovenian and Maltese Ministers for Foreign Affairs on the Action of the European Union towards Southern neighbourhood.

At the same time, as stated by the President of the European Council on 23 February, we cannot forget about the equally important component of the European
Neighbourhood Policy - the Eastern Partnership (EaP). Launched in 2009 with the Prague Declaration, this ambitious and forward-looking project aims to support
reforms and bring our Eastern partners closer to the EU, at the same time expecting them to commit themselves to undertaking the necessary political and economic

The EU Treaty's Art. 8 envisages in this respect developing a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good
neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union. Further on, Article 49 TUE stipulates that any European State which respects the values the EU is founded on,
namely respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and is committed to promoting them may apply to
become a member of the Union. These two articles combined apply to the Eastern Partnership countries only, hence giving a unique meaning to the EaP´s long-term
goal. The South, meanwhile, will evolve outside of the Union. In this regard, it is not without significance that the launching of the Eastern Partnership has indicated the eastern limes of Europe; this is important inasmuch as it helps to clarify the dilemma of the "endless enlargement'' of the EU.

The two components of the ENP must be recognised as equally important, mutually enriching and synergetic. In particular, the Union´s experience of promoting
democratic reforms in the countries of our Eastern neighbourhood should serve as a template for the South. In this respect, the democratic transition know-how acquired by the Central and Eastern European states constitutes a highly valuable political capital to be used especially in those domains which pose challenges to the reform processes in both the East and the South neighbourhood.

It is thus not only our moral duty, but also in our vital security and economic interests, to build around us a ring of democratic and prosperous countries. We should care to the same extent about every neighbour, whatever its geographical position. Both East and South require symmetric attention and financing.

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EPP Group in the European Parliament