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The outsiders: the European neighbourhood policy

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In May 2004, the European Union acquired not just ten new member states but several new neighbours. At about the same time, it began to flesh out a European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) to bring some order to the EU's relations with its old and new neighbours and to ensure that the newly enlarged EU would be surrounded by a 'ring of friends'. The ENP is also supposed to stave off further enlargement to eastern Europe. However, several problems with the ENP are evident. It requires much of the neighbours and offers only vague incentives in return, making it unlikely that the ENP can meet its core objectives. Furthermore, the ENP is ambiguous about where the EU's borders will end, and it is already apparent that such ambiguity is not helping to foster reform in eastern Europe. Either the EU should say 'no' to further enlargement, so the ENP becomes the framework for relations with the neighbour for the foreseeable future, or it should say 'yes' to eventually letting in a specified number of neighbours which then move out of the ENP.

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