Stanley's blog

A meeting, the other day, of the European Policy Centre ‘EU Neighbourhood Forum’ struck me for the praise reaped on the EU’s ENP (European Neighbourhood Policy) by ambassadors of partner countries, NGOs and others.

The ENP has its limitations and drawbacks, but it has clearly delivered – and continues to deliver – a wide range of low-key benefits which attract the attention of neither politicians nor journalists. A variety of countries are being helped to strengthen their economies, governance, regulation… Above all diverse countries and interests working together helps build trust and greater integrations between them.

It involves cooperation and dialogue in many economic, political, social and cultural areas. The mention of ‘Northern Dimension’ and ‘Black Sea Synergy’ doesn’t turn you on but the participants obviously value both programmes.

Two messages struck me. First, how difficult it is to demonstrate the success of many EU initiatives which do not result in headline catching records. Second, how the ENP, currently a ‘hub and spokes’ project will eventually need a rim, ie some kind of light institutional structure, notwithstanding Romano Prodi’s original description of “Everything except institutions”.

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