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The European Commission and the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy have outlined the major points European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) review, highlighting the EU’s renewed approach to its eastern and southern neighbours. The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Switalski, held a press conference on the reviewed ENP and EU-Armenia relations on 19 November 2015.
The ENP will make stabilisation a main political priority in this mandate. Differentiation and greater mutual ownership will be further key elements of the new ENP. This recognises that all partners aspire to comply with EU rules and standards, and reflects the wishes of each country concerning the nature and scope of its partnership with the EU. The EU will uphold and continue to promote universal values through the ENP, seeking more effective ways to promote democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.
ARS_8388Ambassador Piotr Switalski talked about ENP’s priorities: ‘This is my very first press conference since I arrived in Armenia. This occassion marks the presentation of the ENP’s joint communication, which was made yesterday in Brussels by Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn. The EU’s review of the ENP is a result of long process of reflection and consultation. It started at the end of 2014 and the process involved all the relevant actors, including governments, CSOs and regional partners and received more than 250 contributions. The Armenian government made contributions, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs sending a letter in January. Why the review is neccessary is obvious: the European neighbourhood has changed; the situation in the countries has changed; the EU has changed; our challenges have changed. What is new in the document that was presented yesterday? The keyword in the ENP is “stabilisation”. With everything that is happening in different countries, there is no higher priority than stabilisation’.
This review will allow the EU to refocus relations with its neighbours in order to address the political priorities which underpin partnerships. Options will be discussed with partners; these discussions are key to increasing countries’ sense of ownership. The aim is also to involve member states more intensively in the definition and implementation of policy in neighbourhood countries.
The new ENP will introduce some new working methods, including the abolition of the traditional annual package of country reports. Reporting will now be more tailored to the nature and working calendar of each relationship.
In the coming months, the proposals unveiled in the joint communication will be discussed with member states and partner countries to jointly determine new priorities and the shape of future relations.
After presenting the key parts of the ENP review, Ambassador Switalski answered journalists’ questions. EU-funded programmes in Armenia, the negotiations on the new EU-Armenia agreement, the situation in the region and many other important issues were discussed.