Effective benchmarking for concrete rule of law reforms in the Western Balkans

At the outset of a new political and institutional cycle of the EU, 2019 has been a year of many unknowns. For the countries of the Western Balkans, the direction of the future development of EU enlargement policy has been a key concern. During the mandate of the previous European Commission (EC) it has been clear for some time that there is discontent on the side of EU member states concerning the on-the ground effects of the enlargement methodology.

The discussions on the effects of the enlargement methodology gained new impetus following the European Parliamentary (EP) elections over the summer and related to the October 2019 European Council session at which the much-awaited decisions on the start of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania were on the agenda. The EU debate on enlargement has recently been accompanied by formal requests from EU member states to revise the methodology of enlargement, primarily in view of the progress as related to monitoring rule of law. Such demands have surfaced in various places, including coming directly from French President Macron, as well as appearing in September 2019 decisions of the Bundestag and Dutch Parliament. In short, EU member states demand that the enlargement methodology includes modes of strictly ensuring the monitoring and implementation of reforms, especially in relation to rule of law, as well as responding to reversibility in the accession process.

In this brief, we focus on the lessons learned from rule of law benchmarking in the Western Balkans so far in order to provide input for ongoing discussions on revising the accession methodology. The brief first provides an overview of rule of law benchmarking and provides key recommendations that need to be taken into consideration when revising rule of law instruments in the accession process. It then proceeds to summarise the key findings of a comparative research project on the effectiveness of benchmarking in the EU accession process in the Western Balkans. The findings presented here reflect on the debates at the October 2019 summit, at which EU member states did not reach a decision despite the recommendations of the European Commission to the start the accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.

Download the Brief here.

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Service delivery

What is the public opinion – is the administration is citizen-oriented or not? Can citizens give feedback on the quality of administrative services and is the feedback is publicly available? What do CSOs think about accessibility of administrative services? Do (and how) service providers publish information about offered services?

Find out in this WeBER infographic. 

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National PAR Monitor Montenegro 2017/2018

This PAR Monitor report, produced by the WeBER project, provides detailed monitoring results and recommendations for Montenegro, based on a comprehensive, year-long research focused on PAR. The PAR Monitor methodology is rooted in the regional approach. The design of all WeBER indicators enables comparisons between the administrations in the Western Balkans and allows for regional comparability of results.

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National PAR Monitor Macedonia 2017/2018

This PAR Monitor report, produced by the WeBER project, provides detailed monitoring results and recommendations for Macedonia, based on a comprehensive, year-long research focused on PAR. The PAR Monitor methodology is rooted in the regional approach. The design of all WeBER indicators enables comparisons between the administrations in the Western Balkans and allows for regional comparability of results.

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National PAR Monitor Kosovo 2017/2018

This PAR Monitor report, produced by the WeBER project, provides detailed monitoring results and recommendations for Albania, based on a comprehensive, year-long research focused on PAR. The PAR Monitor methodology is rooted in the regional approach. The design of all WeBER indicators enables comparisons between the administrations in the Western Balkans and allows for regional comparability of results.

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Proactive transparency and the right of access to information: Two sides of the same coin

Depending on the side initiating communication, there is a reactive transparency of the administration in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it is based on citizens requesting information pursuant to the Freedom of Access to Information Act, and the requested information is then granted to the citizens upon their request; and there is a proactive transparency, where the administration publishes specific information on its own initiative because it wants to inform the citizens of its work, on their rights and obligations, or wishes to involve the citizens in decision-making processes pertaining to laws, policies, actions and other.

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Preparing for accession negotiations in the Republic of Macedonia: What can we learn from WeBER monitoring?

This policy brief reflects on the significance of the findings of the WeBER project for the preparation of the institutional structures and procedures for managing the EU accession negotiations in the Republic of Macedonia. The WeBER project monitored a selected number of principles through its own indicators in all areas of the Principles of Public Administration and its findings are presented in a National Report and a Regional Comparative Report. These principles, offer a common denominator of public administration reform of all EU-aspiring countries, setting its course towards EU membership.

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