L’Union fait la force? Potential and Limitations of the European Neighbourhood Policy as an Integrated EU Foreign and Security Policy
The external policies of the European Union may be viewed as the outcome of the interaction between the Member States, the European Community (acting in the context of the ‘first pillar’) and the European Union (acting on the basis of the second and third pillars). This tripartite interaction, which involves a large number of actors operating within different institutional logics, makes it challenging for the Union to conduct coherent policies, or to fulfil its objective of affirming its identity on the world stage (Article 2 TEU). The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is a particularly developed expression of a policy designed to meet the challenge of ensuring coherence between the three EU pillars. As an alternative mechanism designed to offer coherent policy-making in the cross-pillar context of relations with the EU’s strategically important neighbours, the ENP does not rely on new instruments but rather offers a way of integrating existing instruments via ‘soft’ frameworks, such as European Council and Council Conclusions and Commission policy papers. This paper aims to analyse the ENP as a contribution to the EU’s efforts to evolve a more coherent external action. Ukraine will serve as an example, as the advanced implementation of the ENP towards this country offers the best illustration of the policy, in both its potential and its shortcomings. It will demonstrate that the ENP is a cross-pillar security policy, which draws heavily on the specific methodology developed within the framework of the EU pre-accession strategy. It will be argued that while this new formula of external action carries the potential of fostering the coherence of EU external action, its effectiveness, in policy terms, may be hampered by several inherent paradoxes and tensions.
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