Are European Neighbourhood Policies an effective inducement for integration?

The “Accession, Neighborhood or unity? The EU Experience” session gave a cross regional examination on the relationship between the EU and neighboring countries. The session looked at the economic performance of countries in Eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and Middle East and North Africa.

When dealing with countries within these regions the EU offers association and neighborhood but not accession. The result is European Neighbourhood Policies (ENP). According to EU Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldnerthe “The ENP offers every neighbor country the chance to choose its own path. Those who want to advance relations through the ENP are already seeing their commitment matched with new opportunities.”

Skeptic voices on current and potential role of the ENP in anchoring reforms to countries under study were raised, and as a consequence whether the ENP is an attractive option? Does it provide access to a significant share of the EU market? How much will it take to put in action, and what are key intermediate steps that allow access?

An overarching perspective indicates that it is politically inconceivable not to follow the EU. These countries are European by nature, and the EU puts pressure on those countries that question whether the EU is in a better position to set cultural, political, economic or legal benchmarks? Nevertheless, the EU cannot set terms beyond its own economic arena and cannot ensure its neighbours follow the same vision.

There is no evidence so far about the impact of integration and how can it be measured, action plans are different from one country to another. Performance is not easy to assess due to different factors at play between different countries. The result is Research that has ended up with more questions than answers.

To trace impact, governments need to think about instruments rather than results, like eliminating corruption rather than improving economic conversion.

Questions from the floor:

Mustafa Nabli

Q. Why do countries need incentives as strong as EU memberships to induce reforms?

A.  To join the EU, there are more external incentives than internal drivers. Regulatory bodies do not offer internal demand for reform. As a consequence there should be a call for easy transplantation of institutions within local initiatives

See more stories from the GDN 2010 Conference, watch participants’ videos interviews, download conference presentations and papers

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