European conscience - The European Neighbourhood Policy is dead. Long live the neighbourhood policy!

The European Union is working to promote peace, stability and prosperity at its borders. The neighbourhood policy is dead but must be revived.

If one wants to live a happy and peaceful existence, the first rule is to stay on good terms with one’s neighbours. Whether you live in a block of flats or a continent of almost 750 million people, this maxim holds true. That said, getting along with someone we haven’t chosen and are forced to put up with is not easy, especially when that someone also is dealing with many problems.

By launching the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2004, the European Union showed far-sightedness, understanding the importance of its neighbours. And the time was ripe. That same year witnessed the largest expansion the European Union has ever attempted – involving 10 new member states – a process that was to transform outsiders into insiders and far flung countries into new neighbours. Thus the decision, promoted by the European Commission led by Romano Prodi, was designed to build up a “ring of friends” around Europe, a space that promoted healthy relationships and shared prosperity. Twelve years later, the dream appears to be drifting into a nightmare, the uncontrolled outbreak of a ring of fire (with anything but romantic overtones). 

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