News     Events     Contacts     Links     Bulletin     Faq     Sitemap   
Important legal notice


 Project web sites


 EU Partners
 MED Partners
 Partner Support
 EC EuropeAid

We would like to hear your opinions!

This project is funded by the European Union

Privacy Policy
Last update :
26th March 2007

Home   >   News   >   Press release

[Brussels | 13th October 2006]

Are you that person who welcomes a new neighbour with a bunch of flowers, invites them in for a cup of coffee and appreciates a friendly chat over the garden hedge? Are you a caring neighbour, concerned about the wellbeing of those around you and happy to help when and where you can? A recent Eurobarometer on the European Union and its neighbours shows that EU citizens consider cooperation with neighbouring countries important. A vast majority believe that EU assistance to neighbouring countries - such as those on the Mediterranean rim - can help to extend peace and democracy beyond the borders of the Union.

European enlargement gave the EU more than ten new member states; it brought new borders too. And these new borders brought new neighbours. To avoid the emergence of new dividing lines between the EU and its neighbours, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) outlines a number of ways in which the EU will work closely with its new neighbours. A common commitment to core values such as human rights, democracy, the rule of law, good governance, market economy principles and sustainable development, provides an excellent basis for close cooperation and will increase economic integration.

But how do EU citizens perceive the EU?s relations with countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Lebanon? And what do we think of our eastern neighbours such as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia? Some 68% of EU citizens consider the EU?s relations with neighbouring countries to be good, and 31% of respondents believe that the EU shares a set of core values with its neighbours.

Some 77% of EU respondents believe that the EU can extend democracy towards neighbouring countries, although 45% believe that promoting reforms in surrounding countries could endanger EU peace and security. One of the ENP?s objectives is to increase trade between the EU and its neighbours and to promote economic reforms. No less than 75% of the questioned citizens believe that helping neighbouring countries will enable EU companies to expand into new markets. Fear for their own economic situation is cited as one of the reasons why a significantly smaller amount of respondents - only 64% - agrees that we should offer neighbouring countries greater access to EU markets.

All in all, encouraging and supporting reforms in neighbouring countries is expected to bring economic and social benefits to the EU?s neighbours. This, in turn, will contribute to prosperity in the EU. Whether citizens believe the EU and its neighbours share the same values or not, they still think that cooperation is beneficial.

Dislike for one?s neighbours may be universal; it needn?t be for the EU and its neighbours. The bilateral ENP action plans, mutually agreed between the EU and its partners across the Mediterranean and on the eastern borders, respond to each country?s individual needs. The action plans are based on mutual EU-neighbour interests and forge a real partnership with neighbouring countries.