“The European Neighbourhood and its Security Landscape: An increasingly Integrated Picture”, Zane Šime (College of Europe, Bruges)

Zones of conflict in the European Neighbourhood are interconnected. Going beyond a country-specific approach and paying attention to interconnections between volatile developments in three neighbourhood ‘hotspots’ – Libya, Syria, and Ukraine – would enable the European Union (EU) to build a more comprehensive approach to Russia’s attempts to establish and maintain frozen conflicts and instable zones in the neighbourhood. The increasing tensions across the entire European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) area represent a test case for the EU’s capacity to think comprehensively about its newly moulded geopolitical character. The ENP provides a context that calls for a thorough analysis transcending country-specific considerations highlighted by ENP Action Plans. The launch of the European Political Community (EPC) provides a window of opportunity to think in an integrated, cross-country fashion and pay more attention to complementarities between various EU policies and programmes dedicated to ENP countries. The importance of seeking a more integrated approach is underscored by Iran’s support for Russia during the ongoing war on Ukraine. The case of Iran illustrates a direct and malign involvement of the ‘neighbours of the neighbours’ in the immediate vicinity of the EU. The geopolitical resonance of such cases should be reflected in a future revised Strategic Compass.

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