Political Dialogue and Security in the European Neighbourhood: The Virtues and Limits of 'New Partnership Perspectives'

Michael E Smith, Mark Webber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the EU’s most prominent policy tool (short of further enlargement) intended to help stabilize and secure relations with its bordering states: the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Dealing with the problem of regional stabilization has been a central rationale of the ENP and in what follows we consider how the ENP’s concern with this problem has been pursued through the framework of political dialogue with partners, focusing particularly on cooperation in external relations. There are undoubted benefits which the ENP brings to this policy domain, however the initiative is also saddled with three sets of problems. The first relates to the question of local relevance and ‘value-added’, and is a concern largely for the ENP partners. The second is the challenge of policy coherence and is played out at the EU level and among EU Member States. The third is how the ENP relates to important regional actors (principally the USA and Russia) who have the potential to both facilitate and frustrate the initiative. These three challenges frame the context for two brief regional snapshots of the ENP in action, looking at EU security relations with the South Caucasus (and Georgia more specifically) and the Middle East.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-95
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Foreign Affairs Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • European Neighbourhood Policy
  • European Union enlargement
  • political dialogue
  • European security
  • European foreign policy


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