The EU Neighbourhood Competence under Article 8 TEU (2013:3epa)


With the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Union has been formally instructed to “develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries” (Article 8 TEU). This new European Policy Analysis examines the nature and object of this broad EU ‘neighbourhood competence’. It is suggested that despite the mandate to act that it encapsulates, and the profound changes affecting the whole region, the actual engagement of the Union towards the vicinity has not profoundly changed. The EU neighbourhood policy appears to be affected by the disadvantages of its constitutionalisation, and incapable of reaping the latter’s benefits in terms of compelling the Union’s institutions and Member States to act forcefully.

This analysis is a contribution to the volume “Think Global – Act European (TGAE): Thinking strategically about the EU’s external action”, published in March 2013 under the direction of Elvire Fabry (Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute, Paris). The publication is also part of SIEPS´ research project The EU External Action and the Treaty of Lisbon.

Christopher Hillion is Professor of European Law, University of Leiden, and Senior Research-er, Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies (SIEPS)