On May 26 the European Commission published its communication “A new response to a changing Neighbourhood”. The communication comes partly as a follow up to the crucial changes in Europe’s Southern Neighbourhood. The Commission proposes a new approach to strengthen the partnership between the EU and the countries and societies of the Neighbourhood: to build and consolidate healthy democracies, pursue sustainable economic growth and manage cross-border links – an approach that aims to ensure that EU’s support will promote deep democracy in the Neighbourhood.
The new approach proposes a higher level of differentiation, which will allow each partner country to develop its links with the EU as far as its own aspirations, needs and capacities allow. This change in approach will also mean that countries that are moving forward with democratic reform will be rewarded by more support and more integration – using the “more for more” concept. With the approach the EU does not seek to impose a model or a ready-made recipe for political reform, but it will insist that each partner country’s reform process reflect a clear commitment to universal values that form the basis of our renewed approach.
Specifically the Commission’s communication proposes to:
- establish partnerships in each neighbouring country and make EU support more accessible to civil society organisations through a dedicated Civil Society Facility
- support the establishment of a European Endowment for Democracy to help political parties, non-registered NGOs and trade unions and other social partners
- promote media freedom by supporting civil society organisations’ (CSOs’) unhindered access to the internet and the use of electronic communications technologies reinforce human rights dialogues
The European Parliament and Council will discuss this communication and their response to it in the following months and ALDA will follow this discussion and hopes this new proposal and discussion will lead to positive changes and more support from EU to ALDA’s work in the Neighbourhood.