One voice, one message, but conflicting goals: Cohesiveness and consistency in the European Neighbourhood Policy

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The failure of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in bringing about democratic change in the European Union (EU)’s neighbourhood starts with the EU’s limited effectiveness in shaping outcomes of international negotiations according to the ambitious objectives it pursues. This paper argues that this is not primarily a problem of a lack of actorness, however. The EU does have one message and speaks with a single voice but pursues conflicting goals. Rather than the lack of internal cohesiveness, it is the ENP’s substantive inconsistency in seeking to promote effective and democratic governance that undermines the EU’s external effectiveness. While the ENP conceives of the two objectives as complemen- tary, the democratization of (semi-)authoritarian countries entails the risk of their destabilization at least in the short run. As a result, promoting effective and democratic governance become conflicting objectives. The lower the level of political liberalization and the higher the instability of a country, the more ineffective the EU is in asserting a democratic reform agenda in the ENP Action Plans, clearly favouring stability over change.
Translated title of the contributionEine Stimme, eine Botschaft, aber widersprüchliche Ziele: Kohäsion und Konsistenz in der Europäischen Nachbarschaftspolitik
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1033–1049
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 08.2014

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Speaking with a single voice: the EU as an effective actor in global governance?

    Research areas

  • Politics - Actorness, cohesiveness, European Neighbourhood Policy, European Union, single voice