This paper, by Susanne Milcher and Ben Slay, has been prepared for the international conference entitled “Europe after the enlargement”, to be hosted by the Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE) in Warsaw on 8-9 April.
This paper describes the general framework of the EU’s emerging relationship with its new neighbours and investigates the potential economic impact of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), both for the EU itself and for its neighbours. In particular, it seeks to develop an answer to the question of whether the ENP is sufficiently attractive so as to induce the governments in neighbourhood countries to adopt (or accelerate the adoption of) the types of economic and governance reforms that were implemented in the new member states during their accession processes. Although the specifics of the ENP are still being developed, the lack of incentives as regards to unclear accession to the EU is identified as the main weakness of the ENP.
Economically, the ENP seeks to ease trade restrictions through the implementation of legislative approximation and convergence with EU standards, before accessing the EU’s single market can become a reality. Positively though, is that the access to the single market could improve significantly under the ENP. As experienced by the Central European states, FDI is instrumental to transform the economies of the Western CIS and the Caucasus. The ENP can be a supportive framework for improving investor confidence. Likewise, the new European Neighbourhood Instrument can add more coherence in technical assistance, and provide more financial support for creating capacities for trade infrastructures and institutional and private sector development. Finally, measures to promote increased labour migration between the new neighbours and the enlarged EU may be worth to put on the agenda for the future development and impact of the ENP.