Revel, Sammy. “European Neighborhood Policy in the Middle East: The Test of Reality.” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs (early view; online first).
When it was inaugurated in 1995, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership presented a vision of political cooperation, economic development, and cultural understanding between Europe, Arab countries, and Israel. The atmosphere was one of relative optimism, both in Europe and the Middle East. Ten years later, the regional approach took a back seat and the main emphasis was placed on a more bilateral framework, with the introduction of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). Following the big wave of European Union enlargement, the gravitational force pulling neighboring countries to the EU was at its peak. The objective was to extend the zone of peace and prosperity beyond its enlarged borders.
Today, at the beginning of 2016, this vision seems to be a faraway dream. In the Middle East and North Africa, the upheavals in Arab countries have brought about growing instability and bloodshed. This situation presents important humanitarian challenges, including major refugee flows within the region and into Europe. Terrorist organizations are exploiting the current situation to spread hatred and commit acts of violence.
In view of this dramatic, unsettling reality, there is a clear need to examine the flaws in the implementation of the ENP and to rethink its most basic elements. A new strategy should include effective tools with which to solidify meaningful cooperation between like-minded countries.