Thursday

2nd Apr 2020

Berlin in plans to split EU neighbourhood states

The EU could downgrade its relations with its partners from the Middle East in reforms mooted by Germany which will take over the EU presidency in the first half of 2007, according to a UK daily.

The move could have an effect on Middle East countries that are currently members of the EU neighbourhood policy (ENP).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

The Guardian reports that the German plans intend to split the countries taking part in the current EU neighbourhood policy scheme, separating those that have membership hopes from those who would never be admitted to the EU.

This means that Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and the Palestinian Authority will be given a less prominent position than members who are geographically within Europe.

Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia will be among the countries to be admitted to the more advanced club.

But the German plans have been criticised by European experts believing that the EU must not demote its relations with the 10 non-European members.

"The problems of North Africa are just as important to the EU as those of eastern Europe. It is wrong to tell North Africa that because they are Muslims and live in sandy places, they can't be integrated," Charles Grant, director for the Centre for European Reform, told the Guardian.

But Rolf Welberts, a senior official at the German foreign ministry, defended the plans, arguing that the current neighbourhood policy had not been a success.

"Ukraine should not be treated in the same way as Morocco or Algeria. We think the action plan of the ENP should be replaced with something deeper," Mr Welberts was reported saying by the Guardian.

Mr Welberts added that Ukraine must be offered the hope of EU membership. Otherwise "there is a real risk that Ukraine will turn away," Mr Welberst concluded.

However, Berlin's plans may dash rather than boost the membership aspirations of states like Ukraine.

German politicians have previously mooted ideas for a privileged partnership with Ukraine as well as western Balkan states which would take the form of something between ENP ties and full membership.

These ideas have been widely seen as an alternative, not a step in between, to fully-fledged EU membership.

The European Neighbourhood Policy was developed after the EU's 2004 enlargement, with the objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours.

Under this policy the EU offers its neighbours a privileged relationship.

No breakthrough at EU budget summit

EU leaders failed to reach agreement on the EU's long-term budget, as richer states and poorer 'cohesion countries' locked horns. The impasse continues over how to fund the Brexit gap.

EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock

Cuts to innovation, space, neighbourhood and other programme-spending push down the latest budget proposal on the table of EU leaders. Rebates could stay on, to win the support of the net-payers for a deal.

Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

EU leaders arriving at the Brussels summit criticised the budget proposal of EU Council president Charles Michel, as richer member states insisted holding onto their rebates, while poorer countries wanted to avoid deep cuts to their subsidies.

Vietnam sent champagne to MEPs ahead of trade vote

A trade deal with Vietnam sailed through the European Parliament's international trade committee and after its embassy sent MEPs bottles of Moet & Chandon Imperial champagne over Christmas.

Feature

Promises and doubts: Africa's free-trade adventure

The EU is hoping that a continent-wide free trade agreement in Africa will help lift millions out of poverty and help solve issues of security and migration. But its message of values and equal partnership do not resonate with everyone.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. Court: Three countries broke EU law on migrant relocation
  2. Journalism hit hard by corona crisis
  3. EU fighting shortages and faulty medical supplies
  4. New EU navy operation to keep migrant details secret
  5. MEP: Constituents are our window into this tragedy
  6. Without European patriotism, EU decline is inevitable
  7. EU cancels April Fool's 'fake news'
  8. A coronavirus 'Marshall Plan' alone won't be nearly enough

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us