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Assessing EU Actorness Towards its 'Near Abroad'
EU-CONSENT Occasional Paper no. 1
by Carmen Gebhard
Maastricht/Stockholm, April 2007

This paper seeks to evaluate the EU foreign policy performance towards its 'near abroad' as it is addressed in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) focussing in particular on the aspect of policy appropriateness. The Barroso Communication on 'Greater Coherence, Effectiveness and Visibility' released in June 2006 builds the analytical starting point, equally indicating the "suitability of policy instruments to the task at hand" as one of the decisive factors for the overall success of EU external action. Employing a historical institutionalist perspective, the paper intends to show to what extent path dependencies might reduce this appropriateness in the case of the ENP. It focuses on the policy solutions produced in the ENP framework, trying to identify and conceptualise their quality and nature as well as their performative power in view of the policy’s self-proclaimed objectives and with regard to the expectations from outside. By trying to relate the analysis to the wider framework of EU external action, the paper seeks to come to major conclusions about the general credibility and effectiveness of the EU as a foreign political actor.

  • Introduction
  • I. The European Neighbourhood Policy – Introduction and Overview
    • Establishment process and first steps of implementation
    • Policy outline
  • II. Conceptual and Analytical Framework
    • The concept of policy appropriateness
    • Path dependency and institutional choices
    • The path dependent 'stickiness' of the ENP – more than speculation
  • III. Assessing EU Actorness Towards its 'Near Abroad'
    • The ENP's institutional design – tracing path dependent patterns
    • Policy adaptation, institutional learning and innovation
    • The Union's "New Offer" – what is "new" about it?
    • The continuum of approaches and the challenge of change
    • EU external actorness and the credibility complex
  • Summary and Conclusions
    • How does path dependent 'stickiness' then influence appropriateness?
    • Critical remarks on the use of path dependency in policy analysis
    • The ENP between path dependency and change.
  • Notes
  • References
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