European Neighbourhood Policy Review

Speech to AFET committee at the European Parliament in Strasbourg by Johannes Hahn , Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations                                                                                           

Chairman, honourable members,
I’m delighted to have this opportunity to discuss the review of the ENP with you so soon after the launch of our joint consultation paper.  Let me start by underlining that it is in the EU’s own interests to maintain close relations with our neighbours.
The objectives are clear. We want to be key partners for the countries on our doorstep, while defending their right to choose their own way forward. We prefer to work with democracies in open trading relationships, because we believe this is better for everyone. And, we want to have good working relationships on issues that affect us: from energy security to migration, from trade to terrorism.  
There has been a lot of change in the neighbourhood in recent years. The ENP has not always been able to offer adequate responses to the changing aspirations of our partners. AND therefore, the EU’s own interests have not been fully served either.
That is why President Juncker asked me, in close co-operation with High Representative Mogherini, to carry out a far-reaching review of this policy in the first twelve months of my mandate.
The consultation paper we have just published will form the basis of a public consultation over the next 4 months. Federica and I will reach out to all parties to discuss how the design and implementation of the ENP can be better adapted to our interests and theirs. We will meet southern partners in Barcelona on 13 April and Eastern partners in Riga on 22 May. And I look forward to coming back to you with proposals in the course of the autumn.
Crucial role for European Parliament
In this review I see a crucial role for this House, in particular its country delegations and delegations to the regions, in deliveringour messages to the people on the ground and in ensuring that their messages on the ENP are fed back to us.
I also appreciate that your Committee and your rapporteur, Mr Kukan, have started working on the European Parliament’s contribution to the review, including a public hearing last week with experts from the region. This is very much in line with our aim to consult as widely as possible both with partners in the neighbouring countries and with stakeholders across the EU.
And I am counting on your expertise to help us with some of the very sensitive questions in the consultation paper: How should we deal with the neighbours of the neighbours? How should we deal with countries that do not, or do not currently, seek to engage with the EU in the terms envisaged by the current ENP? How should we rethink our working methods, for example the annual reports, to make the tone of our relationship more acceptable to our partners? How can we make the ENP a much more integral part of EU foreign policy? You will find these and about another 70 key questions in the consultation paper!
Four key points
There has already been a lot of informal consultation. Many member states and partners, and indeed some of you, have already given views. I think we can already say that we need to look at four key points:
First: what can we do increase the scope for differentiation in the way we work with our partners? We need to do more to recognise that our partners are very diverse. Not just different east and south, but different within the east and within the south.
Some want closer integration with us, and in these cases we need to reflect on what further steps are possible. Some want a different kind of relationship, and for these we need to consider how best to pursue the relationship, perhaps in new formats.   On top of all this, as I have said, we need to work out how to work with the neighbours of our neighbours – without giving them a veto over any partner’s engagement with us in the ENP.
The second key point is ownership. We will never get the best from this policy while it is seen as something more or less imposed by Europe, rather than a partnership actively chosen by the other side. The new ENP must reflect the views and experience of our partners. It must not be condescending, patronising or preaching. We should develop a real partnership of equals based on shared interests, while always promoting universal principles.
My third point is about focus: I want to get away from the current model where we try to cover a very wide range of sectors with every partner. For those that want, and who are able, we should pursue the Association Agreements and DCFTAs. But, for those who can’t, or do not currently want to engage so deeply, let’s narrow the focus to where the real interests lie and build on more solid foundations – to make our partnerships more effective.
Trade and mobility have been the traditional focus points: I want us to consider some that have not been fully used up to now: energy – both our energy security and that of our partners; and threats to security of all kinds.  
A word on security: until now the ENP has relied almost exclusively on community instruments. This review offers the possibility to bring ALL our instruments together, to attempt a much more coherent approach to the key security challenges in the region.  
Lastly, we need to be more flexible: this means being able to react to changing circumstances, and crises when they arise, including with our financial instruments. The support of the European Parliament for this will be key.
We’re not giving up on our values
Some people ask me whether all this talk of pursuing interests means that we are giving up on our values. The answer is very clearly no. The promotion of democracy, human rights and rule of law is a defining characteristic of the EU. But let us ask ourselves, whether the ENP as currently constituted, has been the success we hoped, in transmitting these values.
It is my view that the values that are at the core of the EU are also in our partners’ own interests. I will give you an example: rule of law is key to long-term political stability, but equally to attracting outside investment.   An independent judiciary and a system where justice is free from corruption is not only value in itself, but it is also indispensable to creating an environment for growth.

Last thoughts
So, in the new ENP the messages should remain the same: but we should seeking new ways to deliver our messages, and to be heard.
I am looking for concrete ideas in this review that will deliver results in the short to medium term, and ones the public can understand. Many like to ask what is the end destination of the policy? I am more interested in seeing what advances we can make in the next five years.
And my final thought on the ENP for today: Europe must take its responsibilities in its own neighbourhood even more proactively. We should not count on others, from other continents, to solve our problems.   If we want to demonstrate that the EU matters in the world, surely it is in our own backyard that we must begin.    

2015 Special Measure in support of Ukraine
Chairman, honourable members,
Before concluding I would like to say a few words about our assistance to Ukraine in support of key short term reforms (constitutional reform and decentralisation) and quick economic recovery, also in line with the recent Minsk Agreement.
The EU is currently implementing a €355 million State Building Contract (Special Measure 2014) supporting the Ukrainian government in preparing for in-depth reforms.
Up to €105 million remain to be disbursed and the necessary reforms (including decentralisation) could be enhanced by the mobilisation of technical experts.
Like in 2014, when my predecessor announced the Special Measure, the fragile situation in Ukraine has not yet enabled a multi-annual programming.
I am therefore profiting from this occasion to inform you of our intention to launch again a Special Measure in 2015, worth €110 million, taking into consideration the present volatile conditions.
Besides support to the essential reforms, reviving economic activity is essential in the short term.

The bulk of this 2015 Special Measure in support of Private Sector Development and approximation (€95 million) has been designed to contribute to economic recovery, focusing on the areas affected by the conflict in the East, including reforms to improve business climate and support to SMEs.
The remaining €15 million will support the Ukrainian public authorities in designing and implementing key reforms stemming from the Association Agreement, including capacity to carry out the legal approximation process with the EU.
If and when the conditions allow, we will start a longer term approach to our assistance, in agreeing on a Single Support Framework, outlining priority sectors on a multi-annual basis as we have for the remaining Eastern Neighbourhood countries. I will then come to this Committee to conduct a strategic dialogue as agreed in the context of the adoption of the ENI Regulation.
Thank you for your attention.