This paper explores the role of new modes of governance in the EU’s attempts to impact upon states which are not (yet) members or which became members in the 1980s. More specifically, it summarizes the findings of comparative case studies on the involvement of non-state actors in the implementation of EU policies and EU primary Law in different types of states, “weak states” in particular, including Southern European member states, CEE candidate countries and associated states in the former Soviet Union and Northern Africa. The paper shows that new modes of governance can help bring countries closer to Europe. However, they do so only if both state and non-state actors have sufficient capacities and trust each other. Given that these conditions are often absent in accession and neighborhood countries, we should caution our expectations in new modes of governance and focus on less innovative means, such as capacity-building.