in: Tobias Schumacher / Andreas Marchetti / Thomas Demmelhuber (eds.), The Routledge handbook on the European neighbourhood policy, London: Routledge, 200-210
Political decisions, particularly those regarding complex institutionalised policy frameworks with a perspective of several years, tend to be taken at critical junctures. The 2015 European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) review has been the fourth such critical juncture in the life of the European Union’s neighbourhood policy since its launch in 2003; the creation of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the Eastern Partnership (EaP) in 2008–2009; and the ENP review conducted just before the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2010 and early 2011. Each occasion has seen the EU institutions, EU Member State governments and neighbouring countries engage in a process of reflection, proposal, counter proposal and negotiation before deciding on the ENP’s future. This chapter addresses two questions with regard to ENP decision-making. The first is descriptive: how does the process through which decisions are taken work, formally and informally? In exploring this process the chapter aims to shed some light on the arcane world of decision-making in EU foreign relations. The second question is analytical and addresses the handbook’s central aim of evaluating the ENP as a political process. Has the decision-making process produced a policy framework that advances a convincing strategy from the EU’s perspective, while satisfying the interests of neighbouring countries in engagement with the EU?