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Communication from the Commission “A Strong European Neighbourhood Policy”. Preliminary conclusions for Moldova

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Sergiu Buscaneanu / December 16, 2007
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The European Commission released on December 5, 2007 a new communication titled “A Strong European Neighbourhood Policy”. The Moldovan mass media did not cover this document much. It was released a year after the communications from the Commission on strengthening the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and on the general approach to enable ENP partner countries to participate in Community agencies and Community programmes, launched on December 4, 2006.

The Communication reiterates that the premise of the ENP is that the European Union (EU) has a vital interest in seeing greater economic development, stability and better governance in its neighbourhood. The communication stresses the differentiation principle on which the ENP is based. This way, it notes, the ENP is a partnership for reform that offers “more for more.”

Further, the Communication notes the main progresses achieved within the ENP since the last communications launched on December 4, 2006. In particular, allocations have been made under the Governance Facility; the Neighbourhood Investment Facility is being established; a regional dimension for the East, the “Black Sea Synergy” has been launched; progress has been made towards opening up EC programmes and agencies to ENP partners. However, the Commission notes that a great deal remains to be done and further efforts from the EU side are necessary to make a reality of the proposals already made to strengthen the ENP.

It stressed that the focus in 2008 must be on implementation of existing commitments, and notes that a further communication accompanied by country-specific progress reports, in spring 2008, will analyse where further action is needed by ENP partner countries.

Beyond these general issues, other matters must be stressed in the context revealed by the Commission Communication:

Finally, the Commission Communication answers the question regarding the future EU-Moldova relations, but on a short term. It recommends a roll-over of the current Action Plan on Moldova for one year along with similar documents on Ukraine and Israel, which will reach the end of their term in early 2008. Hence, the initial expectations were too ambitious. In this way, the famous thesis by C. Hill capability-expectations gap[1] is becoming more valid for the ENP, too.

  1. Hill, C. (1993), “The Capability-Expectations Gap, or Conceptualizing Europe’s International Role”, Journal of Common Market Studies, 31(3), pp. 305–328.
After October, November is over… Political year 2007