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High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, will co-chair consultations with Southern ENP partners at the Informal Ministerial Meeting on the future of European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) on Monday, 13 April, in Barcelona. The meeting is jointly hosted by the European Union, including the Latvian Presidency of the EU Council, and Spain, and will be attended by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs both from the EU and the ENP partner countries*. It will allow for an in-depth discussion within the framework of the ongoing consultation process on the review of the ENP; the situation in the Southern Neighbourhood will also be discussed.
“Strong European Neighbourhood Policy is crucially important for both the European union as well as our partners in the East and the South, in a period of great challenges at our borders. EU and its neighbours are called to face a greater instability in many areas and the threat of terrorism that is spreading more and more, causing victims and leaving populations in despair, and often forcing people to leave their countries. The meeting in Barcelona will give us the chance not only to reaffirm our commitment, but to strengthen our cooperation for tackling the common challenges from a political, humanitarian and security point of view. It is our common duty and our common interest. Following the launch of the review of this policy we are keen to discuss with our Southern partners the joint challenges that need to be addressed in the process, but also how to make sure that our partnership continues to grow in the interest of all. This meeting will offer a valuable opportunity for such a discussion; it will also allow us to talk about the situation in the region in light of the various common challenges such to terrorism and migration,” said HRVP Federica Mogherini.
“Our Southern neighbours are crucial partners for some of the most pressing current challenges faced by the EU: extremism and terrorism; energy security; irregular migration and much more. The ENP as currently framed does not exploit the full potential of our relationships with these partners, and the current review aims to change this. That is why it is crucial to involve our partners as closely as possible in designing the new European Neighbourhood Policy. The Barcelona meeting is an important opportunity to hear from our partners how they see the way forward,” said Commissioner Hahn.
The ENP was last reviewed in 2011. Given the significant developments in the neighbourhood region since then, it is now essential to undertake a fundamental review of the principles on which the policy is based as well as its scope and how instruments should be used. The aim is to consult as widely as possible both with partners in the neighbouring countries and with stakeholders across the EU until the end of June. After this public consultation, a Communication setting out proposals for the future direction of the ENP will follow in the autumn. The consultation will follow four priorities: differentiation; focus; flexibility; ownership and visibility. Five areas where both sides share common interests have already been identified: trade and economic development; connectivity; security; governance; migration and mobility.
*Out of 16 countries in the ENP 10 come from the South (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia).
More on the ENP review: