INDEX for EASTERN PARTNERSHIP COUNTRIES / Indicele Integrării Europene al ţărilor Parteneriatului Estic


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INDEX for EASTERN PARTNERSHIP COUNTRIES / Indicele Integrării Europene al ţărilor Parteneriatului Estic

  1. 1. International Renaissance Foundationin cooperation with the Open Society Foundations EUROPEANINTEGRATION INDEX for EASTERN PARTNERSHIP COUNTRIES May 2012
  3. 3. This report was written by: Iryna Solonenko (editor) Viorel Ursu Martin Brusis Boris Navasardian Leila Alieva Dzianis Melyantsou Tamara Pataraia Leonid Litra Kateryna Shynkaruk Paweł Bagiński Veronika Movchan Taras Kachka Iryna Sushko Natalia Sysenko Serhiy Ponomaryov Roman Nitsovych Anna Golubovska-Onisimova Olena ZaplotynskaMany colleagues and friends contributed to different Oksana Popruga, Dimitri Gorchakov, David Stulik, Ste-stages of the 2012 EaP Index. We firstly are very grate- fanie Harter, Darius Žeruolis, Oleksandr Sushko, Philippful to all the experts listed at the end of this publication, Fluri, Ruth Krcmar, Pavel Bucek, Andreas Umland, Er-who worked side-by-side with us on this edition of the wan Lanon, Oleh Martynenko, Oleksii Melnyk, VladyslavIndex. We benefitted a great deal from insightful com- Galushko, Maryana Kuzio. We would also like to thankments and ideas by Jacqueline Hale, Marta Martinelli, all those who participated in our roundtable discussionInna Pidluska, Tetiana Kukharenko, Dmytro Shulga, in Kyiv in February 2012. Last, but not least, we thankZohrab Mnatsakanyan, Daniela Morari, Maciej Stadejek, Stefan Batory Foundation for its involvement.Douglas Carpenter, Isabelle Combes, Kamran Musayev, Language editor Lidia Wolanskyj Editorial comments Joanna Hosa Design and cover Denis Barbeskumpe
  4. 4. Table of Contents Reforming Eastern Partnership Countries: High gear, low gas -6- Inside the Index: What we look at and how we measure it -9- Key results at a glance - 14 - Country specific assessment - 24 - Sector specific assessment - 48 - List of Experts - 66 -
  5. 5. Reforming Eastern Partnership Countries: High gear, low gas The bumpy road Belarus. The first group is doing better in terms of inten- to integration sifying cooperation with the EU and also approximating EU standards. Political will continues to be the key factor Developments in Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries for the state of democracy of EaP countries and their over the past year have confirmed the trends we ob- successful cooperation with the EU. served in the 2011 Index. Moldova has kept moving forward while Georgia is lagging somewhat behind on Moldova has continued to be the most willing reformer, many indicators of this Index. Ukraine has moved even remaining the frontrunner on many indicators in the further away from its one-time status as the ENP poster Index, most notably where democratisation is concerned. child as its democracy and business climate continue Interestingly, indices other than this one confirm this to deteriorate. The situation in Armenia has stabilised: trend. For instance, Moldova gained the highest Free- although the May 2012 parliamentary elections were dom House 2011 score in the region.1 The Bertelsmann flawed, they were a clear improvement over the 2008 Transformation Index released in March 2012 also elections. Azerbaijan is showing increased lack of respect shows Moldova as the best performer in the former So- for democratic principles, while Belarus’s 2010 viet Union.2 Given that Moldova’s Parliament elections finally brought out the sanctions. finally elected a President in March 2012 after almost three years of political gridlock, we The EU has attempted to put into practice the expect reforms to accelerate in a more stable “more for more” principle announced in May political environment. 2011. Moldova and Georgia, the countries that have demonstrated greater commitment, have Georgia and Ukraine have lagged behind and consequently seen greater rapprochement on the situation in Ukraine has deteriorated the side of the EU. At the same time, the EU 1 even more, compared to 2011. The continued failed to prioritise values over interests in the Freedom in the World 2012 crackdown on the opposition, a politically de- scores can be found here case of Azerbaijan. pendent judiciary, and the squeezing of media freedoms and freedom of assembly led Free- dom House to downgrade Ukraine’s political rights rating in 2012. Democracy scores in our On the ground: Index show that Ukraine is now doing on the Are reforms same level as Georgia and Armenia do and even on the agenda? farther behind Moldova. Ukraine is still wait- ing for its major test of ”Europeanness,” which In line with the 2011 Index, we continue to is the upcoming Verkhovna Rada election discern two groups within the EaP: partners scheduled for October 2012. Preliminary as- 2 with clear EU ambitions—Moldova, Georgia Bertelsmann sessments are not optimistic, given the flawed and Ukraine—and partners with less obvious Transformation Index electoral legislation, but there are hopes that EU aspirations—Armenia, Azerbaijan and a large number of international observers, the6
  6. 6. attention of the EU, and increased civic activism in the The EU as a partnercountry will prevent widespread electoral fraud. for reformsGeorgia has failed to move in the direction of greater The EU’s position and policies have reflected develop-openness, political inclusiveness and pluralism and ments in EaP countries. The Arab Spring embarrassedhas, instead, been hindering political competition. The the EU. It exposed the fact that the EU favoured stabilityOctober 2012 parliamentary elections will serve as an over democracy as it treated its authoritarian neigh-important test of its political will to move closer to the bours with indulgence. This wake-up call prompted theEU. At the same time, Georgia has demonstrated strong EU to review its Neighbourhood Policy in May 2011. Thecommitments where institutional arrangements for Eu- EU made ”deep and sustainable democracy” a core valueropean integration, “Management of European integra- against which to assess progress and adapt its level oftion,” are concerned. support. The EU’s main benchmarks include: free and fair elections, respect for human rights—particularlyThe situation in Armenia has not changed significantly. freedom of association, expression and assembly—,It can be labelled as the most willing reformer among the press freedoms, the abolition of torture, non-discrimi-three countries with weak or no membership aspirations. nation and religious freedom, the independence of theThe parliamentary elections that took place in May 2012 judiciary, combatting corruption, and security and lawwere criticised for major shortcomings, but international enforcement reforms.observers agreed that they marked a step forward com-pared to the 2008 elections—which were followed by Conditionality and differentiation have also becomeviolence.3 Interestingly, according to this Index, Arme- more prominent in the EU’s “more for more” approach:nia has demonstrated good results where approximation the more and the faster a country progresses with itswith EU standards in different sectors is concerned. internal reforms, the more support it will get from the EU. At the same time, the EU’s incentives remain mostlyAzerbaijan, like Ukraine, has also seen deterioration with unchanged and include increased funding for social andregard to democratisation due to widespread attacks on economic development, capacity-building for govern-civil society, political activists and journalists, includ- ment, greater market access, increased funds from Euro-ing their unlawful detention. According to our Index, pean financial institutions, and greater mobility throughAzerbaijan is far behind other countries in the region, as visa facilitation and visa-free travel.far as democracy is concerned, ahead of authoritarianBelarus by a relatively small margin. The main incentive—membership prospects—remains unspoken. Though the Joint EEAS and EC Communica-Belarus has remained at the bottom of the list. Its tion of May 2011 made a brief reference to Art. 49 ofrelationship with the EU deteriorated following the 2010 the Lisbon Treaty, the EU Member States failed again toelections and is now stagnant. For the past year, the EU explicitly recognise the right of their Eastern Neighbourshas consistently and openly criticised Belarus and ap- to apply for EU membership. Ukraine pushed hard forplied sanctions against its political leadership. such a mention in its Association Agreement, but EU negotiators remained unconvinced. The European Parlia-In terms of economic development, most countries in ment, on the other hand, has consistently recognised thethe region have demonstrated growth, although this membership aspirations of Eastern Partnership coun-growth is expected to slow down, especially in energy- tries pursuant to Art. 49.5importing economies.4 Moreover, most of these coun-tries have improved their business climate, especially Over the last year, the EU has applied the ”more forMoldova and Belarus, with Georgia remaining the more, less for less” principle with increasing consistency.frontrunner. Ukraine is the only country whose business The 2011 edition of this Index identified Moldova andclimate has deteriorated, despite the fact that Ukraine Georgia as best performers in the region and the twowas the first Eastern Partnership country to complete countries are also favourites of the EU. Both initiatedAssociation Agreement negotiations, including the Deep negotiations on Association Agreements in 2010, andand Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) in 2011. moved quickly to extend the negotiations to encompass 3 The assessment of the 2012 elections in Armenia is not covered by this Index and therefore is not reflected in the scores. 4 IMF World Economic Outlook 5 E.g. EP resolution on ENP review dated December 14, 2011. 7
  7. 7. DCFTA. Moldova, which already benefits from the Au- reforms: EUR 11 million will be disbursed annually to tonomous Trade Preferences (ATP), has been offered in- the EaP region. The European Endowment for Democ- creased quotas for most of its strategic exports to the EU. racy, yet another mechanism to support civil society, has The level of EU funding to both countries is constantly now reached its final stage of conception. rising. Moldova has caught up with Ukraine on visa-free regime negotiations, while Georgia signed a visa facilita- tion agreement before Armenia and Azerbaijan. Why the EaP Index? Meanwhile, EU-Ukraine rapprochement has slowed down amid increasing concerns over the state of de- The idea of comparing country reform agendas and per- mocracy and human rights in the country. Contrary to formance in their relationship with the EU emerged in expectations, the Association Agreement has not yet 2010, soon after the Eastern Partnership was launched. been signed and its ratification will depend on whether The first Assembly of the EaP Civil Society Forum that opposition leaders are released from detention. The took place in Brussels in November 2009 demonstrated disbursement of EU funding to Ukraine has been held that there is strong civil society in the region, but it lacks up on several occasions due to EU concerns over policy collective effort to stimulate reforms on the ground. development and the management of funds. From this perspective, the Index serves as a tool for Belarus is the most eloquent example of the EU’s “less civil society monitoring and advocacy in the EaP. Three for less” approach. In response to the continuous perse- aspects of the Index stand out. First, it takes the idea cution of political opponents by the Belarusian govern- of deep and sustainable democracy seriously, setting ment, the EU has expanded sanctions over the last year. out detailed standards for its assessment. Second, the By contrast, Azerbaijan, which has seen further crack- Index provides a nuanced and transparent cross-country downs against journalists, bloggers and protestors, has and cross-sector picture and a comparative view. The six not faced negative policy consequences. The EU’s unwill- countries are assessed along the same list of questions ingness to consider imposing sanctions on Azerbaijan, and indicators and this list is comprehensive (695 items). where EU members have significant energy interests, is Third, the Index attempts to bolster existing EU efforts, a sign that promoting EU values while safeguarding EU such as the annual progress report, by offering indepen- economic interests remains a challenge. dent analysis. The Index appears annually soon after the EU publishes its progress reports, and aims to reinforce The 2011 ENP review also aimed to engage civil soci- their impact on reforms. Moreover, the approach applied ety in an official dialogue with partner countries. The in the Index is in line with the EU’s ”more for more” ap- proposed ‘partnership with societies’ is meant to break proach. It shows where each EaP country stands in terms the monopoly of governments’ dealing with the EU by of reforms and its relationship with the EU. As such, including civil society organisations (CSOs). the Index points to those reform areas in each country where more progress is needed and serves as a reference During the EU-Ukraine Summit of December 2011, point for civil society organisations in the EaP region European Commission President José Manuel Barroso that want to advocate policy change. and EU Council President Herman van Rompuy dis- cussed critical points on the agenda in a meeting with This Index is based on a more elaborated question- local organisations for the first time. In a further case naire than the 2011 Index and reflects comments and of best practice, during the EU-Moldova human rights feedback received after the initial Index was published dialogue, CSOs are exceptionally invited to participate as in November 2011. The Index has been developed by a observers. group of over 50 civil society experts from EaP countries and the EU. Many more have contributed comments at Aside from exceptions, EU consultations with CSOs on various stages of the project. This Index is produced by various aspects of bilateral relations and funding have the International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) and the been improving through specific structures like the Open Society Institute-Brussels. The project is funded by Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and enhanced the IRF’s European Programme and the EastEast: Part- outreach by EU Delegations. A new Civil Society Facility nership Beyond Borders Programme of the Open Society has been launched to support CSO capacity to engage in Foundations.8
  8. 8. Inside the Index: What we look at and how we measure it What? All categories and subcategories are further broken down into items that are listed in full on the Project’s website6.The Index interprets “progress in European integration” These items consist of questions for experts and quanti-as the combination of two separate yet interdependent tative indicators from public data sources.processes: increased linkages between each of the EaPcountries and the European Union; and greater approxi- The structure of the Linkage and Approximation dimen-mation between those countries’ institutions, legislation sions reflects the multi-level and multi-sectoral natureand practices and those of the EU. While the first process of European integration. It also reflects the structurereflects the growth of political, economic and social of bilateral Action Plans/Association Agendas betweeninterdependencies between EaP countries and the EU, the EU and EaP countries, and the EU’s annual Progressthe second process shows the degree to which each EaP Reports. Since many items in these dimensions have notcountry adopts institutions and policies typical of EU been compared systematically in existing surveys, wemember states and required of EaP countries by the EU. have asked various local experts to provide their assess- ments and information.The Index assumes that increased linkages and greaterapproximation mutually reinforce each other. However, The Linkage dimension looks at depth and intensity ofthis virtuous circle is not fully self-enforcing. Its dynamic contacts and cooperation between the EU and each EaPdepends more on facilitative political decisions and country, in particular political dialogue, trade flows,structures. Such a concept of European integration has cooperation in various sectors, people mobility and theled us to identify three dimensions for evaluation: level of EU assistance to each country. 1st Linkage: growing political, economic and social ties between each of the six EaP countries The Approximation dimension seeks to assess how closely and the EU; institutions and policies in EaP countries resemble those 2nd Approximation: structures and institutions in typical of EU member states. The sections on deep and the EaP countries converging towards EU stan- sustainable democracy and market economy and DCFTA dards and in line with EU requirements; not only constitute core conditions that the 3rd Management: evolving management EU imposes on countries interested in closer structures and policies for European relations with it—they are also uncontested integration in EaP countries. political aims and legitimising general prin-These dimensions are subdivided into the sec- ciples in all EaP countries. These sections partlytions, categories and subcategories shown in use ratings and composite indicators producedTable 1. by international agencies and other non- governmental organisations (NGOs). 6 9
  9. 9. Table 1. Linkage Dimension Approximation Dimension 1. POLITICAL DIALOGUE 1. DEEP AND SUSTAINABLE DEMOCRACY 1.1 Bilateral institutions 1.1 Elections (national level) 1.2 Multilateral institutions and Eastern 1.1.1 Fair electoral campaign Partnership 1.1.2 Legal framework and its 1.3 CFSP/ESDP cooperation implementation 1.1.3 Organisation of elections 2. TRADE AND ECONOMIC INTEGRATION 1.1.4 Electoral competitiveness 2.1 Trade flows: goods 1.2 Media freedom, association and 2.2 Trade barriers: goods assembly rights 2.3 Services 1.2.1 Media freedom 2.4 FDI 1.2.2 Association and assembly 2.5 Trade defence instruments rights 1.3 Human rights 3. SECTORAL COOPERATION 1.3.1 Protection of civil liberties 3.1 Freedom, security and justice 1.3.2 Equal opportunities and 3.1.1 Migration and asylum non-discrimination 3.1.2 Border management 1.4 Independent judiciary 3.1.3 Security and combatting 1.4.1 Appointment, promotion organised crime and dismissal 3.1.4 Judicial cooperation: criminal 1.4.2 Institutional independence and civil matters 1.4.3 Judicial powers 3.2 Energy: trade and integration 1.4.4 Accountability and transparency 3.3 Transport: integration with 1.5 Quality of public administration Trans-European Networks 1.5.1 Policy formulation and coordination 4. PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE 1.5.2 Impartial and professional 4.1 Mobility, including academic civil service and students mobility 1.6 Fighting corruption 4.2 Participation in EU programmes 1.6.1 Control of corruption and agencies 1.6.2 Internal and external auditing 1.6.3 Public procurement 5. ASSISTANCE 1.7 Accountability 5.1 Overall EU Development Aid 1.7.1 Executive accountability 5.2 European Neighbourhood to legislature and Partnership Instrument 1.7.2 Transparent budgeting 5.2.1 National 1.7.3 Democratic control over security 5.2.2 ENPI East regional/ Interregional 5.3 Thematic instruments and programmes 2. MARKET ECONOMY and DCFTA and special technical assistance 2.1 Business climate 5.4 European financial institutions 2.2 Sector transition10
  10. 10. Table 1. Management Dimension 2.3 DCFTA 1. INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS 2.3.1 Trade defence instruments and FOR EUROPEAN INTEGRATION technical barriers to trade (coordination and implementation) 2.3.2 Sanitary and phytosanitary measures 2. LEGAL APPROXIMATION MECHANISM 2.3.3 Customs and trade facilitation 2.3.4 Services 3. MANAGEMENT OF EU ASSISTANCE 2.3.5 Capital 2.3.6 Intellectual property rights 4. TRAINING IN THE FIELD OF EUROPEAN 2.3.7 Geographical indicators INTEGRATION 2.3.8 Competition 2.3.9 State aid 5. AWARENESS RAISING ABOUT EUROPEAN INTEGRATION3. SECTORAL APPROXIMATION 3.1 Freedom, security and justice 6. PARTICIPATION OF CIVIL SOCIETY 3.1.1 Visa dialogue 3.1.2 Migration and asylum 3.1.3 Border management 3.1.4 Security and combatting organised crime 3.2 Energy: legislation convergence and energy policy 3.2.1 Energy community 3.2.2 EU “Energy packages” implementation 3.2.3 Institutional framework of energy market 3.3.4 Energy efficiency 3.3 Transport: regulatory policy 3.4 Environment and sustainable development 3.4.1 Environmental policy 3.4.2 Sustainable development policy 3.4.3 Resources efficiency 3.4.4 Climate change 3.4.5 Pressure to/ state of environment 3.4.6 Sustainable development and trade 3.5 Policy on education, culture, youth, information society, media, audio-visual use 3.5.1 Education 3.5.2 Other policy areas 11
  11. 11. For certain areas that were not well covered by exist- How? ing cross-national comparisons, we decided to develop detailed catalogues of items through consultations with How can the European Integration Index achieve a experts from civil society, public authorities and EU valid and reliable measurement of its items? The Index institutions. This was designed to obtain a more differ- combines indicators from existing sources with first- entiated, first-hand comparative assessment that would hand empirical information gathered by local country make it possible to pinpoint the strengths and weak- experts. This general design is intended to use the nesses of EaP countries. best existing knowledge and to improve this body of knowledge by focused, systematic data collection that The Management dimension looks at institutional struc- benefits from OSF’s unique embeddedness and access to tures and European integration coordination and man- local knowledge in EaP countries. agement on the ground. While the EU has no specific requirements or blueprints as to how European integra- However, expert surveys are prone to subjectivity. Many tion policies should be managed, we believe that this such available surveys are characterised by a mismatch dimension reflects the level of commitment to European between “soft,” potentially biased expert opinions and integration and the capacity to deal with the growing “hard” coding and aggregation practices that suggest a EU-related agenda in each EaP country. degree of precision not matched by the more complex underlying reality and their verbal Notably, the 2012 Index is based on a more representation in country reports. The expert elaborate set of questions than the 2011 Index survey underlying the Index therefore avoids was. The 2011 Index was based on nearly 400 broad opinion questions, and instead tries questions, while this year’s Index is based on to verify precise and detailed facts. Drawing 695 questions. In contrast to the previous on existing cross-national studies7 and local Index, the structure of each of the three dimen- expertise we have adapted the questions from 7 sions is different. For instance, we introduced See ‘Methodology‘ in these surveys to our set of countries and our “Sectoral Cooperation” section in Linkage and focus of measurement. Most survey questions “Sectoral Approximation” section in Approxima- asked for a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ response to induce ex- tion to give less weight to each individual sector. perts to take a clear position and to minimise misclassification. All questions invited experts to explain We introduced a new section called “Deep and Sustain- and thus to contextualise their response. In addition, able Democracy” to the Approximation dimension, which experts were requested to substantiate their assessment offers a more comprehensive approach to democracy by listing sources. as suggested by the EU. Moreover, it helps to arrive at an accumulative democracy score for each country. The The survey was implemented in four steps. First, the “Deep and Sustainable Democracy” section now includes country team leaders selected and commissioned local issues covered previously by sections called “Democ- experts, asking them to evaluate the situation in their racy”, “Rule of Law”, “Governance Quality”. But it also country on the basis of the questionnaire. Different includes new sub-sections, such as “Equal Opportunities parts of the questionnaire were assigned to related sec- and Non-Discrimination” and “Democratic Control over toral experts. Next, the country team leaders returned Security”, which were not covered in the previous Index. the responses to the core project team, which reviewed We expanded “Trade and Economic Integration” section and coded the responses to ensure cross-national to include new categories “Services”, “FDI”, “Trade comparability. The experts’ comments allowed us to Defence Instruments”. The “Market Economy and make a preliminary coding (scoring) that was sensitive DCFTA” section includes a new “DCFTA” category, which to the specific context that guided individual experts in was not available before. The “Environment” category their assessments. As a third step, the core project team was expended to include “Environment and Sustainable returned the coded assessments for all six EaP countries Development,” to reflect sustainable development and to the local country team leaders and experts, requesting trade issues, which are important for DCFTA. Under them (1) to clarify their own assessments where neces- Management, we now include new sections on “Aware- sary and (2) to review the codings by comparing them ness Raising on European Integration” and “Training with codings and assessments made for the other coun- in the Field of European Integration”. Altogether, the tries. Experts who disagreed with the evaluation of their Management dimension grew from 13 to 51 questions. country were requested to communicate and explain Apart from these changes, new questions were intro- their disagreement to the core team. Finally, the core duced to almost every category in the Index. team reviewed and adapted its scores in the light of this12
  12. 12. expert feedback. This iterative evaluation was intended empirically: in most cases in both the Linkage and theto facilitate mutual understanding among experts as well Approximation dimensions, we assigned 1 and 0 to theas between experts and coders, in order to improve the best- and worst-performing EaP country to emphasisereliability and validity of the assessments. the relative position of a country among its peers. There were exceptions, however. In some cases, mostly in the As a rule, all Yes/No questions for country experts were people-to-people linkage, we assigned 0 as a baseline, coded 1 = yes or positive with regard to EU integration not to the worst performing country, so that it will be and 0 = no or negative with regard to EU integration and possible to track progress from one year to the next. labelled “1-0”. If the expert comments and the corre- In the “Market Economy” category, benchmarks were spondence with experts suggested intermediate scores, defined by the best and worst performing countries cov- such assessments were coded as 0.5 scores and labelled ered by the EBRD Transition Reports. In the “Energy”,“calibration”. For items requiring numerical data, that is, “Transport” and “Environment and Sustainable Devel- quantitative indicators, the source data was standardised opment” categories, a mixed approach was used: both through a linear transformation, using information region-specific and external benchmarks were used, such about distances between country scores. as EBRD Transition Reports’ countries, EU-27 average, the largest possible number (i.e., the number of existingTo transform source data into scores, it was necessary directives or organisations EaP countries can join), andto define the endpoints of the scale. These benchmarks so on. External empirical benchmarks make it possiblecan be based on the empirical distribution or on theo- to focus on gaps or catching-up relative to externalretical considerations, on the country cases examined benchmarks.or on external standards. In the case of the Index, thisproblem is intertwined with the question of the ultimate This Index is a snapshot of the situation in EaP countriesfate of the Eastern Partnership. Whereas the EU refuses as of March 2012. Thus, the measurement is status-ori-to consider accession as an option, yet tends to expect ented, allowing us to compare the positions of individualstandards similar to those of the accession process, countries relative to other countries for the differentsome EaP countries continue to aspire to membership. components. Although we attempt to draw a compari-In addition to this uncertain destination, many items son with the state of play covered in the 2011 Index,raise the problem of determining unambiguous best or it would be wrong to take the change of scores at faceworst practice benchmarks, in terms of both theory and value, given how much the Index was restructured. Whatempirical identification. Given these difficulties, we have we are doing, rather, is looking at how the positions ofopted for a mix of empirical and theoretical benchmarks. individual countries have changed with respect to each other and considering whether the findings and trendsFor items scoring 0-1 or the intermediate 0.5, bench- we identified last year still hold or not. Once the Indexmarks were defined theoretically by assigning 1 and 0 is produced on an annual basis, it will be possible to doto the best and worst possible performance. In contrast, cross-temporal assessments of a country’s convergencebenchmarks for quantitative indicators were defined or divergence. 13
  13. 13. Key results at a glance 1 The findings of the 2012 Index show that Moldova ground. Firstly, Ukraine has slumped where democracy is the best performer, coming first in Linkage, performance is concerned. Secondly, its business Approximation and Management. climate has deteriorated further, while its DCFTA performance—a subcategory introduced only in the 2 The second best performer is Georgia, coming current Index—is only slightly better than Armenia’s. second in Approximation and Management, and third in Linkage. In the current Index, Armenia appears to be gaining ground. Its “Deep and Comprehensive Democracy” 3 Ukraine is the third best performer, ranking second score is almost the same as Ukraine’s. At the same time, in Linkage, third in Management and only fourth in Armenia outperforms Ukraine in “Market Economy and Approximation. DCFTA” and “Sectoral Approximation.” Moreover, there was a marked intensification of dialogue with the EU in 4 Armenia, although fourth in Linkage and many areas over the past year. Management, ranks third in Approximation. Another difference from the 2011 Index is the fact that 5 Azerbaijan ranks fifth in Linkage and Approximation, Armenia and Azerbaijan demonstrated the same level while sharing fourth position with Armenia in in Management. As with Georgia and Moldova, this has Management. more to do with changes in methodology. In fact, the margin between Armenia and Azerbaijan in this dimen- 6 Belarus closes the list in all three dimensions. sion was also slim last year. In terms of overall ranking, these results are similar to As in last year’s Index, the results seem to divide EaP those we presented in 2011 Index. Yet, some changes are countries into two groups: Moldova, Georgia and evident in each dimension. In 2011, Georgia was the best Ukraine, the frontrunners with EU membership aspira- performer for Management. The fact that Moldova scores tions; Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus, the stragglers better this year has purely methodological reasons. who have not indicated serious interest in joining the Indeed, in terms of policy and institutional arrange- EU. As already stated, however, if Ukraine continues to ments for European integration, no significant changes deteriorate, while Armenia continues its current ascend- occurred in any of the EaP countries. However, this year ing trend, ranking might look different already in the we relied on a more elaborate set of questions to assess next year Index. Management, which accounts for different results. The margin between Moldova and Georgia is very slim, sug- In addition to the proactive position of individual EaP gesting that both countries perform at about the same countries, the degree of EU involvement also matters. level. From this perspective, Belarus is understandably the least advanced among EaP countries. Political will also In the 2012 Index, Ukraine found itself behind Armenia plays an important role, making it no surprise that Mol- in Approximation, although the two countries were at dova is the frontrunner in the Index, given the political the same level in 2011. This reflects some trends on the situation following its change of government in 2009.14
  14. 14. Interestingly, Moldova demonstrated the best perfor- been better after four years of negotiations. For in-mance in all three dimensions, which supports the as- stance, Ukraine is more advanced than most countriessumption underlying this Index—that increased linkages in “Sectoral Cooperation” for Linkage, coming first inand approximation mutually reinforce each other. This freedom, security and justice, energy, and transport. Butassumption seems to hold true for all the EaP countries, it is behind other countries in all these sectors for Ap-although this year we saw increased deviations. For proximation. This confirms the trend we noticed last year:instance, although Ukraine ranks second in Linkage, it when it comes to Ukraine, greater Linkage does not meanranks only fourth in Approximation and third in Manage- deeper Approximation.ment. This suggests that, as in the previous year, Ukraineis not making the best use of its stronger record and By contrast, Armenia is the second best performer, aftermore advanced level of cooperation with the EU com- Moldova or Georgia, on many aspects of Approximation.pared to the other countries. By contrast, Armenia and These include quality of public administration and sectorGeorgia performed well in Approximation, despite being transition to a market economy. Armenia also demon-less advanced in Linkage. strates the same level of “Sectoral Approximation” as Moldova, outperforming other countries. It is especiallyAlso, while Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus have some- advanced and the best performer where approximationwhat lower scores in Approximation compared to Linkage, in the energy sector is concerned. For instance, Armeniathe other three EaP countries are doing better in Ap- just recently became an observer in the Energy Com-proximation than in Linkage. This suggests that, despite munity, yet Ukraine and Moldova, which are full-fledgedthe fact that Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia are less members of the Energy Community, lag behind on En-advantaged where Linkage is concerned, partially due ergy Approximation. Armenia is also the best performerto their greater geographical distance from the EU, they where Approximation in the transport sector is concernedmight be catching up in Approximation. and in its domestic policies on education, culture, youth, information society, media, and audio-visual use. This isLooking at specific categories in the Index reveals inter- despite the fact that Armenia has the lowest scores onesting cross-country findings. For instance, Moldova, both energy and transport where Linkage is concerned.although the best performer in most areas, could have In short, despite geographical distance from the EU anddone better where transport sector approximation is less advanced links with it, Armenia is serious aboutconcerned. Together with Armenia, Moldova also does domestic performance.poorly where trade in services is concerned. Georgiahas the highest score for trade in goods with the EU Azerbaijan shows relatively good results where approxi-and demonstrates the best business climate and DCFTA mation in the transport sector is concerned and in itsperformance. Georgia also shows the best results for an domestic policies on education, culture, youth, informa-independent judiciary and combatting corruption. tion society, media, and audio-visual use. Elsewhere, it is behind in many areas and outperforms only Belarus.On the other hand, despite demonstrating the mostadvanced level in “Trade and Economic Integration” Belarus, although far behind other countries in mostUkraine does more poorly for “Market Economy and spheres, offers some surprises as well. For instance, itDCFTA.” This is related to Ukraine’s poor business enjoys the most intensive trade in services with the EU.climate and DCFTA approximation, which could have 15
  15. 15. MOLDOVA GEORGIA UKRAINELinkage 0.69 0.51 0.64Approximation 0.65 0.60 0.57Management 0.53 0.51 0.45 16
  16. 16. ARMENIA AZERBAIJAN BELARUS Linkage 0.41 0.36 0.31 Approximation 0.59 0.44 0.31 Management 0.31 0.31 0.22 17
  17. 17. MOLDOVA GEORGIA UKRAINELinkage 0.69 0.51 0.64 POLITICAL DIALOGUE 0.77 0.56 0.94 TRADE AND ECONOMIC INTEGRATION 0.66 0.49 0.68 SECTORAL COOPERATION 0.54 0.46 0.70 PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE 0.78 0.45 0.48 ASSISTANCE 0.71 0.57 0.42 18
  18. 18. ARMENIA AZERBAIJAN BELARUS Linkage 0.41 0.36 0.31 POLITICAL DIALOGUE 0.63 0.55 0.28 TRADE AND ECONOMIC INTEGRATION 0.49 0.52 0.37 SECTORAL COOPERATION 0.19 0.35 0.36 PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE 0.43 0.24 0.30 ASSISTANCE 0.34 0.13 0.25 19
  19. 19. MOLDOVA GEORGIA UKRAINEApproximation 0.65 0.60 0.57 DEEP AND SUSTAINABLE DEMOCRACY 0.75 0.59 0.61 MARKET ECONOMY AND DCFTA 0.59 0.67 0.53 SECTORAL APPROXIMATION 0.60 0.54 0.56 20
  20. 20. ARMENIA AZERBAIJAN BELARUS Approximation 0.59 0.44 0.31 DEEP AND SUSTAINABLE DEMOCRACY 0.59 0.34 0.25 MARKET ECONOMY AND DCFTA 0.60 0.44 0.36 SECTORAL APPROXIMATION 0.60 0.53 0.31 21
  23. 23. Country specific assessment Here we present an explanation of the findings of the in 2012. This declining affinity for the European Union Index as reflected in country scores. We start with the has numerous reasons: the crisis in the EU, the lack of best-performing country on all aspects, Moldova, and concrete benefits at the level of the ordinary Moldovan, proceed in order until we reach Belarus, the worst-per- such as visa-free travel; growing support for a Russian- forming country. led Customs Union and negative EU rhetoric from the main opposition party—the Communist Party—are among the reasons for this shift in attitude. Moldova As the EU has placed more emphasis on democracy- related reforms in its relationship with its neighbours, In the 2012 Index, Moldova has remained the front- Moldova has continued to show progress in this area. runner, like it was in 2011. Indeed, Moldova can well According to this Index, Moldova is far ahead other EaP be called the “most willing reformer” in the Eastern countries where “Deep and Comprehensive Democ- Partnership, due to the progress it has achieved in most racy” is concerned. This is due to continued efforts in areas covered by this Index. It has shown progress in such areas as elections, human rights, quality of public both Linkage and Approximation, in the sense that com- administration, and accountability. One exception has mitment to domestic reform accurately reflects the level to do with judiciary reform, which is being delayed for a and intensity of links with the EU. In fact, over the last number of reasons, including the lack of proper financial year, Moldova advanced key reforms related to European support and political disagreements. The EU has increas- integration despite a three-year political deadlock over ingly supported the judiciary reform process and smartly electing a president—which was finally resolved recently. combined appraisal with emphasising the need to do the At the same time, Moldova has achieved progress in necessary “homework”. negotiating an Association Agreement (AA) with the EU. It has provisionally closed 23 of 25 chapters, the remain- Other areas where more work needs to be done include ing two being related to the DCFTA, talks on which were anti-discrimination policy and combatting corruption launched earlier in 2012. Along with the AA and DCFTA, and organised crime. Thus, the law on anti-discrimi- implementing the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan and nation generated wide public debate over its adoption other sectoral reforms have been in the government’s and was withdrawn from the parliamentary agenda for focus. The EU has been quite supportive along this path. additional consultations. Another attempt is being made Apart from traditional budget support and targeted sup- to get it adopted. Despite the fact that the legal frame- port to some reform areas, it has offered such tools as work for combatting corruption and organised crime institutional capacity-building and high-level advisors. is in place, the actual process of fighting corruption and organised crime is running into serious challenges. Despite the honeymoon with the EU on the political lev- So-called “raider” attacks on state companies and banks el and pro-EU rhetoric from the governing alliance, the have become frequent, while progress in combatting cor- idea of European integration has lost the deep support ruption among public officials has been quite modest. In of voters. European integration fatigue can be seen at the addition, the regulation of party finances needs improve- level of public opinion, with polls showing an important ment. Both GRECO and civil society organisations have decline in support from around 75% in 2007 to only 52% raised serious concerns in this regard. While Moldovan24
  24. 24. authorities are working on a legal framework in this area, Moldova is well ahead of other EaP countries in thecountries like Georgia have already settled this issue. “People to People” and “Assistance” components. It has seen more mobility than other EaP countries and a highMoldova has successfully implemented the majority of level of participation in EU programmes and agencies. Itreforms related to the visa liberalisation process. Togeth- has benefitted from more EU funding in relative terms,er with Ukraine, Moldova is a frontrunner here, showing both per capita and in relation to GDP. “Environmentthe best results in the Linkage dimension for “Freedom, and sustainable development” is another area whereSecurity and Justice.” Both countries have implemented Moldova has shown progress. In “Transport,” includingVisa Liberalisation Action Plans and have already seen its regulatory environment and integration with thetwo monitoring reports by the EU. Nevertheless, Moldo- EU, Moldova is behind some EaP countries. Given itsva has performed somewhat better than Ukraine where geographic proximity to the EU, more efforts need to bedomestic reform efforts are concerned. After all, this applied here.area has been very much in the spotlight of media andpublic debate in Moldova, given the incentive offered by In terms of the Management of European integration invisa-free travel. the EaP Index, Moldova has similar results to Georgia on many indicators. On the positive side, it has the mostImportant progress also took place in other areas. The streamlined system for coordinating external assistance.speedy negotiation of the EU-Moldova Common Avia- Also, Moldova can be proud of the high degree of civiction Area was another priority of the government that participation in its decision-making process. The head ofhas already been achieved and awaits signing following the National Participation Council, which is composedthe bureaucratic process in the EU. Even if the agree- of CSOs, attends all government meetings and has thement is not yet in force, the positive effects are already right to take the floor for comment and to give recom-observed: prices for flights have slightly decreased, more mendations on the decisions that are being debated. Ofcompanies have entered the market, and additional course, not all suggestions are taken into account, but atroutes have opened up. least access to information and decision-making process is ensured.Moldova’s relative success in implementing DCFTA-related requirements can be explained by the fact that Thus, despite the fact that Moldova is doing quite wella great deal of work was done during the preparatory in comparison with other EaP countries, more progressphase, namely dealing with two issues: state aid and is needed in many sectors. The results of the Index givecompetition. Thus, although negotiations started only enough reasons for the EU to continue its supportive ap-recently, Moldova has achieved similar progress to proach toward Moldova and further distinguish it fromUkraine, which has already completed negotiations, as other countries by giving “more for more”—withoutthis Index shows. overlooking the areas where more effort is needed. 25
  27. 27. Georgia 2011 was also marked by small-scale, largely peace- ful assemblies and demonstrations on different social Developments in 2011 demonstrated that, despite the and political issues. However, the government failed to strong consensus in favour of European integration handle the protests in accordance with its international among the political elites and Georgian voters, and the commitments. Cases of excessive use of force by police intensive evolution of institutional arrangements to en- and the illegal detention of protesters were noted. The hance cooperation with the EU, Georgia has so far failed authorities also failed to carry out effective investiga- to come to terms with the challenge of fostering a truly tions and to hold responsible persons accountable, competitive and pluralistic political system and meeting mainly because the legislative framework is very general the criteria of “electoral democracy.” The need for such and does not satisfy the ECHR requirement of “absolute a system is particularly acute in view of the upcoming necessity” in the use of lethal force in crowd control.8 parliamentary elections in October 2012 and presiden- Moreover, the parliament faces difficulties in conduct- tial elections in 2013. ing efficient democratic control over the security forces, since the parliamentary opposition has limited rights to Electoral legislation and procedures in Georgia have launch investigation of abuses made by the security and so far remained biased. In 2011, debates between the law enforcement agencies, unless the majority agrees to opposition and the incumbents, despite external pres- it. This Index shows that, where democratic control over sure for reform that mostly came from the EU, did not security is concerned, Georgia needs major improve- result in amendments fully complying with international ments and lags behind Moldova, Ukraine and Armenia. standards and principles in the most disputed areas of the electoral legislation: party financing, voters’ lists, Certain progress has nevertheless been seen in the estab- systems for demarcating constituencies and seat alloca- lishment of a non-partisan, professional civil service. In tion, and procedures for filing complaints procedures, to particular, the government has increased the quality of mention a few. The very fact that the new electoral code public administration through advancing policy formula- was drafted hastily by the parliament in September and tion and coordination procedures. However, many defi- amended in December 2011 without consultations with ciencies remain, so more attention needs to be paid to the main political players undermined trust that the new the development of detailed administrative procedures law could improve electoral practice and make the pro- for policy implementation and the institutionalisation cess more competitive. In this Index, Georgia’s elections of mechanisms to assess the impact of government-wide score is much lower than that of Ukraine and even more policies. In this Index, Georgia lags not only behind so Moldova and comes very close to that of Armenia. Moldova, Ukraine and Armenia, but also Azerbaijan, for Georgia has a chance, though, to improve its perfor- the quality of public administration. mance in 2012 and 2013 as parliamentary and presi- dential elections are coming up. Moreover, the country’s Despite the overall deficiency of public administration, media remains politicised and unable to provide a truly Georgia has built up high-level institutional capacity to pluralistic range of opinions and information. Although manage European integration. The position of Vice Pre- still doing quite well compared to other EaP countries, mier and State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Georgia shows a slight downward trend here. Integration was established and has responsibility to coordinate and monitor European integration policy. Rule of law also remains one of the most challenging At the same time, various ministries and other central issues for this country. Although doing quite well com- executive bodies have set up specific sub-units tasked pared to other EaP countries, Georgia’s judiciary has not to coordinate the European integration process. Indeed, been able to provide an appropriate response in cases in the Management of European integration of this involving human rights violations. Despite attempts at Index, Georgia showed high results, along with Moldova. judiciary reform in recent years, there is a marked lack of Increased institutional capacity probably contributed to public trust in the independence of the country’s courts. the intensified EU-Georgia political dialogue. The extremely high conviction rate and the failure of the legal system to adequately respond to many high- To confirm this, the talks on an Association Agreement profile “political” cases leave legitimate concerns over with the EU saw good progress in 2011 and talks on a the independence of the judiciary. It is believed that, for DCFTA with the EU started up in March 2012. The latter the successful reform of the judiciary in Georgia, fun- is perceived as a major opportunity to boost Georgia’s damental changes are needed in the rules governing the economic growth through access to EU markets, in- appointment, promotion and dismissal of judges. creased FDI from the EU, and large-scale liberalisation of 8 The Law on the police and Ministerial Decree #1586 on the use of non-lethal weapons to prevent mass disorder.28
  28. 28. trade in services. Georgia is, in fact, the best performer be launched later in 2012 and will hopefully acceleratewhere DCFTA is concerned in this Index. In addition, it Georgia’s approximation in this area.has the least number of mutual trade barriers with theEU. This puts Georgia in a good position to successfully The emphasis on building institutions to manage Euro-manage the talks and finalise them in the not-so-distant pean integration speaks for the political will in Georgiafuture. to prioritise its relationship with the EU. In fact, the EU played a fundamental role in ending the Russian-Geor-The 2011 signing of Visa Facilitation and Readmission gian war, reconstructing Georgia’s economy after the warAgreements between the EU and Georgia also encour- and helping the country to cope with the impact of theaged reform aimed at promoting visa liberalisation with global recession. Georgia’s key policy documents reassertthe EU. For instance, Georgia has successfully imple- the country’s desire for membership in the EU as one ofmented measures related to biometric documents such its key policy priorities.9 This reflects a strong consen-as passports and IDs, border management, fighting sus among the political elites and Georgian society asorganised crime, corruption and human trafficking, as a whole,10 in favour of European integration, whichwell as readmission. Still, in order to further extend the Georgians see as a safeguard for security, democratisa-EU-Georgia visa liberalisation agenda, Georgia has to tion and economic growth.put in place an effective migration strategy and policies,introduce mechanisms for well-functioning integrated Overall, despite the active reform dynamic in the coun-database systems for migration flow, personal data try, serious obstacles remain in the way of implementingprotection, and so on. This Index confirms that Georgia the key requirements to consolidate democracy and en-needs to apply more effort in this area. For Approxima- trench proper governance in Georgia. Reforming the ju-tion in “Freedom, Security and Justice”, Georgia is doing diciary, safeguarding fundamental freedoms and humanbetter than Armenia and Belarus, but is far behind rights, and ensuring a fair playing field in the upcomingMoldova and Ukraine and on the same level as Azerbai- elections will be a test of the government’s commitmentjan. It is expected that the EU-Georgia visa dialogue will to sustained reform. 9 National Security Concept of Georgia 2005, 2011, and a Parliamentary Resolution of March 28, 2003. 10 The public opinion poll conducted in 2012 shows that 74% of Georgian voters support their government’s stated goal to join the European Union and only 5% disapprove of this policy. Opinion Polls in Georgia: Results of a February 2012 survey carried out for NDI by CRRC and funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. 29
  31. 31. Ukraine Overall, in terms of specific reform efforts, 2011 was patchy. Ukraine lacked the political will to undertake In 2011, Ukraines relationship with the EU deteriorated reforms in democracy, rule of law and the energy sector. as its reform process stagnated. Political and media The year was marked by exacerbated trends toward the freedoms, respect for human rights, the independence of monopolisation of political power by the President and the judiciary, corruption, and the business environment the ruling Party of Regions, and a weakening of checks have become areas of major concern. Although negative and balances. In November 2011, a new Law on VR trends in these areas had already begun in 2010, in 2011 elections was adopted. Although it took into consid- Ukrainian authorities crossed what was perceived as a eration some recommendations of OSCE/ODIHR and red line by the EU when the former Prime Minister and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, it still opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was first detained provides room for abuse during the October 2012 elec- and then convicted and imprisoned and other members tions to the Verkhovna Rada. In fact, according to this of her cabinet also faced persecution. Index, Ukraine lags behind Moldova and Georgia where “Deep and Sustainable Democracy” is concerned and has As a result, the annual EU–Ukraine summit that marked almost reached the level of Armenia. “Independent Judi- the conclusion of talks on the Association Agreement ciary” and “Fighting Corruption” are the most problem- (AA) took place in a tense atmosphere. The previously atic areas where Ukraine lags behind not only Moldova planned launch of the Association Agreement, including and Georgia, but also Armenia. the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), was postponed. It was finally initialled in March 2012, After joining the European Energy Community on 1 but the prospects of it being signed and ratified are February 2011, Ukraine spent the year avoiding any uncertain and will depend on how the EU assesses the major steps toward increased transparency in its energy conduct of the Verkhovna Rada (VR) elections due in sector and the politically sensitive issue of modernising October 2012 and on the fate of imprisoned opposition its gas transit system (GTS). In fact, Ukraine failed to leaders. undertake most of its commitments as a member of the Energy Community. The Index score on “Energy: Leg- Although so far Ukraine’s European choice has not been islation Convergence and Energy Policy” puts Ukraine questioned by the political leadership of the country, behind Moldova, Georgia and Armenia. President Yanukovych recently announced that the EU and Ukraine might need ”to take a break” in their Meanwhile, Ukraine’s business climate has deteriorated relationship. Statements on the EU’s “interference” in over the past year and its rank in the World Banks Ukraine’s internal affairs have appeared more often. At “Ease of Doing Business Index” slipped from 149 to 152 the same time, tough gas negotiations with Russia and in 2011. In the EaP Index, Ukraine shares the low- pressure from Moscow to participate in the Customs est “Business Climate” rank with Belarus. Interestingly, Union among Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan limit where “DCFTA” is concerned, for which mostly ap- Ukraine’s leaders room for manoeuvre and force them proximation with the relevant EU acquis were looked at, to keep the EU on the agenda whether they like it or not. Ukraine is no more advanced than Georgia and Moldova, Indeed, Ukraine is a frontrunner among EaP countries although it already completed DCFTA talks, while the in “Political Dialogue”, “Trade and Economic Integration” other two countries only launched such talks earlier this and “Sectoral Cooperation” in the Linkage dimension, as year. This also speaks for the lack of efforts to bring the shown by this Index. country’s norms and standards closer to those of the EU. Popular support for European integration has not The EU has reacted to the poor domestic performance of changed significantly, although public opinion polls Ukraine by freezing its direct budget support transfers show a slight decline since 2010: 57.9% supported EU in- to Ukraine on several occasions over 2010-2011. This tegration in October 2010 whereas in October happened mainly due to widespread abuse of 2011, only 51.2%.11 To some degree, this also public funds through opaque public procure- reflects the relatively small number of Ukraini- ment procedures. ans travelling to EU countries. Despite geo- graphic proximity and a long common border Against this background, some progress has with the EU, according to this Index, Ukraine is been achieved with the adoption of a new Law far behind Moldova in terms of mobility. on Non-Government Organisations, which 11 www.uceps.org32
  32. 32. came into force in April 2012 after five years of constant progressed in setting up a system of personal data pro-lobbying by Ukrainian NGOs and international organisa- tection and migration policy. Nevertheless, in the com-tions, especially the Council of Europe. The law provides parative perspective of this Index, Ukraine lags behindkey improvements in the status of NGOs, such as a Moldova and Armenia and is almost on the same level assimplified registration procedures and broader rights in Georgia and Azerbaijan in “Sectoral Approximation.”terms of the type, scope and geographical reach of theiractivities. Ukraine’s management of European integration still lacked a single coordinating institution in 2011. TheIn addition, Ukraine has demonstrated relatively consis- Department for European Integration in the Secretariattent efforts to implement economic and social reforms in of the Cabinet of Ministers enjoys only limited powers,accordance with Association Agenda priorities and some although its staff was increased in 2012. Inter-agencyreforms demanded by the Visa Liberalisation Action coordination has also remained weak. This Index reflectsPlan. For instance, Ukraine introduced pension reform the situation and puts Ukraine behind Georgia and Mol-in line with European best practice and the require- dova. Nevertheless, unlike other EaP countries, Ukrainements of the International Monetary Fund. Noticeable has a developed system of legal approximation and train-progress has been achieved in budget planning with the ing in the field of European integration. These are leftintroduction of medium-term budget forecasting and an over from the previous administration and suggest theimproved approach to local budget development. Where presence of institutional memory.the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan is concerned, Ukraine 33
  35. 35. Armenia the part of the EU that misconduct during the elections might jeopardise participation in European Union as- 2011 was the year of growing ambitions in Armenia to sistance projects. deepen relations with the European Union as the coun- try’s dialogue with the EU intensified. This Index also On the one hand, political parties and candidates were confirms the trend we noticed last year—that Armenia generally provided with equal campaigning rights and has been successfully implementing EU requirements in fair access to the media. Instances of violence during the certain sectors. Although the formula for its European campaign, on Election Day and afterwards were few and aspirations remained unchanged—“everything short far between, in sharp contrast to previous national elec- of membership”—there are signals confirming that the tions. However, on the other hand, abuse of administra- Europeanisation process could become more consistent tive resources, vote-buying, political pressure on public for this country. and private sector employees alike, were even worse than in previous elections. For the past year, there were several rounds of negotia- tion over the EU-Armenia Association Agreement. As In a joint statement following the elections, the High of May 2012, 24 chapters have been closed, including Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security economic and financial cooperation, offering sufficient Policy and Vice President of the EC Catherine Ashton grounds for the start of talks on Deep and Comprehen- and the Commissioner for Enlargement and European sive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle welcomed “efforts by the Armenian authorities to hold these parliamentary Meanwhile, in February 2012, the EU and Armenia elections in a way that represents progress towards more launched negotiations on Visa Facilitation and Readmis- transparent and competitive elections.” However, they sion agreements. Even earlier, in October 2011, the EU noted, “the elections also demonstrated the need to ad- and Armenia signed a Joint Declaration on carrying out dress a number of issues in order to fully meet interna- a series of initiatives in migration, launching a Mobil- tionally recognized democratic standards.” ity Partnership that opened up new opportunities for promoting mobility among Armenians. Finally, in May The main message from the international assessment 2012 Armenia gained observer status in the Energy of Armenia’s parliamentary elections was, probably, Community. that no ultimate judgment could be made pending the 2013 Presidential elections. Armenia could count on This all suggests that cooperation between Brussels and the anticipated level of EU support, provided that the Yerevan over the past year has seriously deepened and shortcomings identified in May 2012 were overcome in Armenia is on the way to be catching up with Moldova, 2013. Our Index shows that, so far, Armenia is lagging Ukraine and Georgia in rapprochement with the EU. Not behind Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia where elections only the frequency, but also the content of bilateral con- are concerned. The May election was not covered in our tacts has been manifesting a new quality of process. The scoring, but will be reflected, along with presidential race, Armenian side is showing up for negotiations with its in the 2013 Index. This should allow for some revealing homework better done and most of the time initiating comparisons. action plans on its own. This was not the case earlier. The issues of elections, democracy, international assis- Apart from many reform areas that need attention, the tance and their interdependence to some extent domi- main expectations were connected with the parliamen- nated the agenda in the country in 2011 and early 2012. tary elections in Armenia that took place on 6 May Recent statements from top officials in Armenia have 2012. The electoral process was to make clear whether or given an impression that they are taking “more for more” not the country’s political system would move towards and “deep and sustainable democracy” quite seriously. European standards, to what extent basic human rights Whereas in the initial stage of the Eastern Partnership would be respected and rule of law and plurality en- Armenian officials seemed to see the EaP as predomi- sured. Shortly before the election, in April, the European nantly a trade and economic project, after the Warsaw Parliament adopted a resolution stressing that “proper Summit in September 2011, their rhetoric changed sig- conduct, in accordance with international and Euro- nificantly. National authorities made efforts to set up fa- pean standards, will be of utmost importance for the vourable political conditions for enhancing dialogue with development of EU-Armenia relations” in the Armenian the EU. In the first half of 2011, after several years of parliamentary election. This was one of many signals on excessive restrictions, freedom of assembly was restored36
  36. 36. to pre-2005 levels. The few remaining political prisoners 23 laws were adopted between February and April 2011were released. Despite a very inconsistent and eventually with the aim of improving the business climate andfailed dialogue with the opposition and an endless, inef- easing the process of setting up a business, as specifiedfective investigation into the tragic deaths of 10 people in the Progress Report on ENP Action Plan implementa-in the post-election protests of March 2008, develop- tion. In practice, however, there are no signs that thements in Armenia impressed the EU officials, making it monopolies that control the most profitable segmentspossible to intensify dialogue on a number of issues. of business are losing market share, or that market competition has increased. Simplifying business registra-In this Index, similarly to the previous one, Armenia is tion or customs clearance procedures, or optimising thedoing relatively well in terms of independent judiciary, tax system in and of themselves do not lead to growingquality of public administration, fighting corruption numbers of SMEs—unless they enjoy patronage fromand accountability, ranking either 2nd or 3rd among EaP high level bureaucrats or oligarchs, who are very difficultcountries. to identify. In other words, the progress reported refers more to intentions, than to actual improvements.Armenia also shows good results where sectoralApproximation is concerned, a trend also noticed in 2011. This ambiguity is well reflected in public opinion. Euro-More specifically, in “Energy”, “Transport” and “Policy on pean integration is being perceived and accepted by moreEducation, Culture, Youth, Information Society, Media, and more Armenians as a choice without alternative.and Audio-visual Use”, Armenia is ahead of all other EaP This agenda will remain in the focus of public interestcountries. The same situation is observed with its transi- with a presidential race coming in less than a year. How-tion to a market economy, as reflected in EBRD Transi- ever, Europeanisation could become more controversialtion Indicators. Armenia also has relatively high scores if the idea of the Eurasian Union is actively pushed byfor its “Business Climate”, “DCFTA”, “Environment and Russia.Sustainable Development”. In short, the trends we noted in the 2011 Index haveNevertheless, independent assessments of the reform been confirmed. If these trends continue, an impres-process in Armenia suggest that, despite certain achieve- sive leap in the country’s Europeanisation and its Indexments on the institutional, formal level, such as adopt- scores can be expected. Yet, given Armenia’s lastinging laws, signing agreements and reorganising structures, ambiguity in both commitments and aspirations towardsqualitative improvements in the key areas are either tak- Europe, hard conclusions are place slowly or are not happening at all. For instance, 37