Libya and Syria: Inserting the European Neighbourhood Policy in the European Union’s Crisis Response Cycle

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Series Details Volume 22, Number 1, Pages 19-38
Publication Date 2017
ISSN 1384-6299
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Fostering peace and stability has been a key aim of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), but its effective impact on conflicts has been marginal. This article analyses the ENP’s security dimension through the conceptual prism of coherence. As a policy cutting across functional domains and governance levels the ENP faces horizontal and vertical coherence challenges.

The empirical analysis focuses on two cases lying at the intersection of the ENP and comprehensive European Union (EU) crisis management: the EU’s responses to the Syrian and Libyan conflicts between 2011 and 2016. The analysis shows that the EU has gradually redirected ENP funds to short-term security- and migration-related goals. However, the EU has failed to ensure vertical coherence in the field of high politics.

The externalities of the Libyan and Syrian conflicts might foster national preference convergence and thereby increase vertical coherence. While this should strengthen the ENP’s security dimension, the risk is that the policy’s distinct character as a tool for structural conflict prevention is diluted within an ever broadening comprehensive approach that focuses on conflict symptoms rather than root causes.

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