in: European Foreign Affairs Review 24 (4), 447-458
This article discusses the 2015 European Neighbourhood Policy review and its aftermath, focusing on the impacts of preference formation and coordination among member state and EU-level actors on the coherence of a complex policy framework. Drawing on hitherto unexplored empirical material, it argues that a perception of crisis among key decision-makers evolved into a consensus that turmoil in the neighbourhood posed serious threats to Europe. This facilitated a coordination effort among EU member states to reach common positions on a narrow set of policy priorities, especially security, counter terrorism and border control. Member state unity and direction from the European External Action Service limited the European Commission’s autonomy and facilitated the prioritisation of security-related cooperation in the neighbourhood. The outcome of this process was a more focussed and therefore more coherent policy framework, but also one with dramatically reduced ambition. Support for liberal-democratic political and economic transformation in the EU’s image was stripped away, leaving a securitised policy framework aimed at increasing 'resilience' to perceived threats from the neighbourhood.