The European Neighbourhood Policy: Differentiation without Political Conditionality?
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The aim of this chapter is to examine the way in which the EU has differentiated its relations with its Eastern and Southern neighbours, as well as the basis for such differentiation. The analysis shows that differentiation lies at the heart of the EU relations with these countries, and also describes factors that have led to ‘differentiation’ in the context of the ENP. The deepening of the cooperation with the ENP countries is not always and only due to political conditionality; it is linked to ex post rather than ex ante conditionality. The high level of variable geometry in the ENP does not, however, concern EU restrictive measures. The EU has adopted a fairly uniform policy in this area and has imposed restrictive measures vis-à-vis neighbour countries, regardless of their different geopolitical position and specifi c relations with the EU. In the near future, the level of variable geometry in the ENP is likely to grow: new contractual arrangements will be offered to Armenia and Azerbaijan; and differentiation and fl exibility are the hallmarks the 2015 review of the ENP. The question arises: Can the ENP remain a single policy framework, considering the high degree of differentiation? It is submitted herein that the ENP should remain the overall framework for the EU-ENP relations, since this counters the risk of a re-nationalization of this policy. A different issue is whether the EU’s choice of engaging with countries which have rejected EU values, in whole or in part, can be reconciled with a value-based foreign policy.
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