This research focuses on which dominant theory of European integration, neofunctionalism or liberalintergovernmentalism, best explains the development of the ENP from 2004. Their explanatory value is tested through a congruence analysis to investigate the congruence between the propositions from both theories and the empirical observations. The findings of this research demonstrate that neofunctionalism has a higher explanatory value than liberal-intergovernmentalism and, therefore, better explains the development of the ENP from 2004. This shows that even though the decision-making regarding the ENP is based on an intergovernmental process, the Commission was able to assert its influence over the policy in the formulation stage. The Commission promoted and framed the policy, interacted with ENP stakeholders, especially with the EU member states and the ENP partners in the initial years, and forged a consensus among the EU member states by excluding aspects from the policy, which would not be endorsed by all the EU member states. Due to its key role, the Commission has been able to increase its knowledge and expertise in this policy domain even though it already had a comparative advantage visà- vis the EU member states before the formulation stage. More generally speaking, these findings demonstrate that, under the right circumstances, supranational EU bodies are able to influence EU policy-making, even in policy areas in which the decision-making process is intergovernmental.

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Thesis Advisor Dr. K. Stapelbroek, Dr. S. Grand
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Series Public Administration
Warnars, Eline. (2020, February 18). The European neighbourhood policy: An Intergovernmental or Supranational Creation?. Public Administration. Retrieved from