It's not just good fences that make for good neighbours. Good relations are based on mutual interests and shared values, which is why the EU offers its neighbours a privileged relationship in exchange for economic and political reforms, including a commitment to values such as democracy and human rights. Find out more about the 16 countries that are part of the European Neighbourhood Policy by clicking on our map.
Despite the economic crisis, the EU must keep up the pace of engagement with its eastern and southern neighbours and reward them for progress with reforms on a case-by-case basis, Parliament insisted in a resolution adopted on 23 October.
MEPs stressed that respect for the fundamentals of democracy is a "red line" that cannot be crossed without serious consequences and that the EU should focus on stimulating the development of democratic institutions, democratic political parties and civil society in its neighbourhood.
About the European Neighbourhood Policy
The European Neighbourhood Policy was launched in 2003 in order to deepen relations with the EU's 16's neighbouring countries. It is mainly carried out on a country by country basis through action plans that set out reform agendas. So far 12 of them have already been adopted. In exchange for sticking with the action plans, countries receive better trade opportunities, easier travel possibilities, technical support as well as financial support (€18.2 billion for 2014-2020).
Once a year the EU assesses progress towards the agreed aims, including good governance, economic and social reforms, rule of law and respect for human rights. In 2011 the rules were beefed up to ensure that countries would only receive more funds in exchange for more reform.