The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) launched in 2004 was purposefully conceived as a strategy to encourage neighbours' approximation with the European Union (EU). This aim by the EU to extend its own system of rules beyond member states has become the focal point of the literature on the EU's relations with neighbours. In this article, however, we aim to broaden the scope of the analysis of the EU's role as it pursues policy convergence in the ENP area. More specifically, we argue that the convergence processes can be established on a basis other than EU's norms, namely, international and bilaterally developed norms. Building on this three-fold distinction, we propose a model explaining how and when policy convergence is more likely to happen on the basis of every one of these norms. The model takes into account three variables: the structure of incentives between the EU and its neighbours, mutual perceptions of legitimacy and intra-EU coherence. Based on a number of empirical examples, we illustrate that EU-based convergence is less predominant in EU's relations with its neighbours than it is usually portrayed in the literature. © NISA 2009.
- EU foreign policy
- European neighbourhood policy
- External governance