Western Balkan PAR Monitor 2017/2018

This Western Balkan PAR Monitor, produced by the WeBER project, provides comparative results for the entire region, based on a comprehensive, year-long monitoring research effort focused on PAR. It should be read in concurrence with the six national PAR Monitor reports, laying out detailed monitoring results and recommendations for each country.

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Western Balkan PAR Monitor 2017/2018 – Executive Summary

The PAR Monitor is the result of research undertaken over the past year by the Think for Europe Network, with the goal of providing a systematic civil society monitoring of public administration reforms (PAR) in the Western Balkans. This exercise was motivated by the need to strengthen domestic, bottom-up pressure from the civil society sector in the long run, in order to ensure that post-EU accession, when the leverage of the EU’s conditionality in the governance area weakens, the reform drive endures. Based on a robust methodological approach, combining quantitative and qualitative techniques, and building on the EU’s Principles of public administration, the PAR Monitor measures the countries’ state of play in PAR, benchmarks them against each other, and provides recommendations for improvement. The PAR Monitor also ensures complementarity with the monitoring carried out by SIGMA/OECD and the European Commission. It, therefore, provides a citizen and civil society focused perspective on the EU-SIGMA principles. The PAR Monitor comprises an overall comparative regional report and six country reports, each including findings on the 23 compound indicators designed by the WeBER project team to monitor a selection of 21 EU-SIGMA principles. All findings can be accessed via the Regional PAR Scoreboard at www.par-monitor.org. This document provides a summary of the key regional findings in the six areas of PAR.

WESTERN-BALKAN-PAR-Monitor-2017-2018-summary

National PAR Monitor Serbia 2017/2018

This PAR Monitor report, produced by the WeBER project, provides detailed monitoring results and recommendations for Serbia, based on a comprehensive, year-long research focused on PAR. The PAR Monitor adopts the EU principles of public administration as the main building block of the entire endeavour, to allow for regional comparability, peer learning and peer pressure. This also allows WeBER to guide the administrative reforms in the direction of compliance with EU standards and requirements. The WeBER monitoring focus also rests strongly on the citizen-facing aspects of public administration, particularly examining issues of transparency, information provision to the public, citizen participation, accountability, equal opportunity and integrity.

The Western Balkans Enabling Project for Civil Society Monitoring of Public Administration Reform – WeBER – is a three-year project aiming to increase the relevance, participation and capacity of civil society organisations and media in the Western Balkans to advocate for and influence the design and implementation of public administration reform. WeBER is implemented by the Think for Europe Network (TEN), composed of six EU policy-oriented think tanks in the Western Balkans, and in partnership with the European Policy Centre (EPC) from Brussels.

National-PAR-Monitor-Serbia

Evidence-based and inclusive policymaking in the Western Balkans: What role for think tanks and other policy-orientated CSOs?

 

This Policy Brief is produced within the project Raising capacities and advocacy potential of CSOs of Visegrad Group and Western Balkans.

The space for civil society contribution has been gradually shrinking across the Western Balkans, making it harder for civil society organisations to actively take part in the policymaking process in their home countries.

This paper aims to shed light on an insufficiently enabling, often even disabling, environment for the work of civil society organisations (CSOs) from the region. It does so by providing a comparative overview of CSOs involvement in the policymaking in different countries across the Western Balkans (WB), whilst also identifying the limitations of the very policymaking processes in the WB. Finally, as the accession process of the region accelerates, the paper shows how CSOs can use the EU’s more credible enlargement commitment to move beyond the unfavourable situation and increase their impact on policymaking.

The project was realised with the kind support of the International Visegrad Fund.

Evidence-based-and-inclusive-policymaking

Putting citizens first (?) Exploring public perceptions of administrative services in the Western Balkans

Governments across the Western Balkans have made efforts towards improving service delivery; however, they are still unable to meet their citizens’ expectations of more accessible, transparent and responsive services. Part of the problem is that governments continue to typically design and offer services on the basis of their own requirements instead of taking into account the perspectives and needs of the citizens they serve.

This report draws on a regional survey of 6172 respondents from Western Balkans aged 18 and older, surveyed in the second half of October and during November 2017 by using stratified three-stage random representative sampling. Its main aim was to explore perceptions towards the implementation of a citizen-oriented delivery of administrative services using the years 2015-2017 as a reference period. The main survey results are analysed below in four clusters: administrative simplification, e-services, feedback mechanisms of service delivery, and monitoring. 

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Civil Society and Policy Making in the Visegrad Group Countries: Lessons for the Western Balkans

Civil society organisations (CSOs) of the Western Balkans (WB6) are relatively young compared to their counterparts from Visegrad countries (V4). This could be seen as a natural consequence related to political and historical circumstances in both regions over the past 20 years: the early transition to democracy in the V4 countries paved the way for growth of civil society sector and accelerated its development, while simultaneously the WB6 region experienced a severe social, economic and political downfall. Indeed, the post-communist era in the V4 served for the civil sector growth, as organisations could provide assistance in terms of expertise and resources in certain areas where, still fragile and recovering states, could not manage to do so. The development of civil society sector in V4 was therefore to a great extent impacted by democratic reforms, along with early public administration reform and Europeanisation processes, while the WB countries were still recovering from the fierce conflict period at that time.

It is our immense pleasure to share with you a collection of articles produced within the project Raising capacities and advocacy potential towards more substantive involvement of CSOs of V4 and WB6. This collection provides insights into challenges of civil society participation in policymaking in three countries of the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland), in the intention to share valuable lessons for the Western Balkan countries. Articles are a result of experience exchanging events that took place in spring and summer of 2017, gathering representatives of TEN Network and partner organisations from Visegrad countries: namely, a two-day workshop addressing experiences from Poland and Hungary was held in Budva (Montenegro) on 12-13 May, while on June 26-30, representatives of each of the TEN member organisations, together with civil servants from each of the Western Balkan countries, participated in a study tour to Slovak Republic and Czech Republic.

This study is funded by Visegrad Fund.

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Reforming from the BENCH – MARKING OFFSIDE

“The fundamentals first” approach announced in 2013 places the focus of the EU integration process on democracy and the rule of law. This mechanism relies on extensive system of benchmarking, which was developed for Romania and Bulgaria in the post-accession period (Cooperation and Verification Mechanism), while now it is being implemented for each chapter of the EU’s acquis under negotiation. Accordingly, benchmarks represent a set of
requirements for accession negotiations for chapters of the acquis – opening and closing benchmarks (and interim benchmarks for Chapter 23 Judiciary and Fundamental rights and Chapter 24 Justice, Freedom and Security). The aim of such approach is at one side, to aid the candidate countries by making the requirements more concrete and on the other side to facilitate the process of assessment of progress achieved and thus navigate and give directions
to the accession process. Moreover, benchmarks have been introduced for the countries that are yet to open accession negotiations without actually enjoying the benefits of negotiations. Thus, benchmarking has become the key mechanism of EU conditionality policy towards the Western Balkans (WB6) that should ensure the consistency and credibility of this policy, while providing encouragement for further reform. Although this mechanism has already been implemented for a decade, its results have not yet been systematically assessed.

The analyses, made within  BENCHER Project represent a first major attempt to critically evaluate the degree to which the objectives are achieved and the extent to which targeted problems are solved in order to further advance in the EU accession process. The purpose is to highlight and compare the key developments in relation to the selected benchmarks in the six countries, whereas an in-depth discussion of the benchmarks in the separate countries is to be found in the national studies.

Regional Analysis

Inside-Regional

Macedonia

Benchmarking-in-Macedonia

Serbia

Benchmarking-in-Serbia-1

Albania

Benchmarking-in-Albania

Kosovo

Benchmarking-in-Kosovo

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Benchmarking-in-BIH

Montenegro

Benchmarking-in-Montenegro

The Western Balkans’ bumpy quest for EU integration: 2016 Comparative overview

In 2016 the TEN network provided a structured, comprehensive and objective analysis of the European Commission country reports for the first time for all the Western Balkan countries, which enabled the comparison of the grading system and EC assessment of all the accession criteria/chapters of the country reports. Building upon this effort, one of the aims of the BENCHER Project is to deepen this analysis further, providing a more critical review of the EC assessments, based on the lessons learned. Furthermore, this year’s analysis dedicates a special focus to the recommendations provided by the EC in the 2015 and 2016 country reports, assessing the degree to which they were considered and implemented by each country. In addition, we have provided a critical note from a CSO’s standpoint as watchdogs of both the governments and the EU institutions.

With this analysis we aim to provide recommendations to the EU, for improving the monitoring mechanisms.

Other publications made within BENCHER Project can be found here.

You can access the contents of the publication below:

Infographic

 

                                                                              

The contributors to the regional analysis are:

 

Regional Analysis

Regional-Analasis-edit-21.12

Albania

C.A-Albania

Macedonia

C.A-Macedonia

C.A-Serbia

Montenegro

C.A.-Montenegro

Bosnia and Herzegovina

C.A-BiH

Kosovo

C.A-Kosovo