The rule of law in Montenegro between deep polarisation and an unstable majority – how to get back on track?

Policy Recommendations

  1. The government should develop precise roadmaps in the EU accession talks and a clear framework for strengthening the rule of law. The measures should include better defined indicators and activities while insisting on more specific tasks on an annual basis within the interim benchmarks to facilitate both performance assessment and monitoring of progress. A new model of reporting based on a simplified form, which would include an overview of key challenges in meeting the benchmarks and thus strengthening the rule of law, would be advisable as well.
  2. The new parliamentary majority and all parties in the parliament should strive to remove political influence from the judiciary and find solutions that will enable the strengthening of institutions and ensuring their impartiality. As the EU insists on a broad consensus on these issues, and society is in a state of deep polarisation, a kind of mediation between the two blocs, the majority and the opposition, is needed. In this way, the selection of the best candidates in the judiciary, especially where envisaged membership of the academy (civil society), which will not be close to any party, and thus impartial law enforcement will be ensured and politicisation avoided.
  3. The government should fully open the reforms to the public to allow public scrutiny and impartial evaluation.

Rule of Law and Justice in Croatia after the EU accession

Policy Recommendations

  1. An independent and professional judiciary stands as the cornerstone of strong democracies which are based on the rule of law. A reformed judiciary affects every segment of a society, and promoting judicial reform must remain at the heart of the EU accession process.
  2. Independent watchdog organisations as well as well-funded and professional prosecution bodies have positively contributed to the implementation of judicial reforms in Croatia. These efforts must be continued towards a reform of the court system and overall professionalisation and depolitisation of the judiciary.
  3. The EU enlargement process is not value-neutral and is not a one-way process. The EU focuses on the rule of law and order as to install strong, liberal democratic political systems in new member states, which, in return, strengthen the EU as a cohesive body. With this in mind, the EU’s efforts in sanctioning member states that deviate from liberal democratic standards should be fully endorsed and sanctions against EU member states that violate the EU’s rule of law standards should be applied.

Τhe Rule of Law and Foreign Direct Investment in the Western Balkans: The Greek Experience

Policy Recommendations

  1. Western Balkan states should reinforce the regulatory and institutional framework and empower independent authorities so as to mitigate political bargaining and interventions.
  2. Western Balkan states should establish appropriate environmental standards for business activity in line with the EU’s acquis communautaire in order to attract ‘green’ Foreign Direct Investments.
  3. The EU should focus on the genuine compliance of Western Balkan states with EU standards and on the comprehensive application of adopted legislation.

Countering the Rule of Law Backsliding in the Western Balkans

Policy Recommendations

  1. Rule of law and enlargement should be placed high on the agenda of the Conference on the Future of Europe.
  2. The EU and its member states need to increase efforts to promote rule of law in the Western Balkans.
  3. There is a need to pursue the renewal of transatlantic cooperation for countering the rule of law backsliding in the Western Balkans.

Rule of Law and Justice – Case Serbia

Policy Recommendations

  1. The legal framework and practice regarding elections, the election campaigns, oversight and funding of the campaigns in Serbia need to be improved.
  2. Law enforcement agencies must start working together to fight organised crime, money laundering and other forms of serious crime. Furthermore, they should focus on preventing connections of organised criminal groups with politicians and political organisations.
  3. All the amendments of the Constitution, although very necessary as well as a step forward in EU enlargement negotiations (Chapter 23), must be put on hold until democratic and fair elections can take place and return legitimacy to the Serbian Parliament.

Rule of law after a decade of Eastern Partnership. Let’s talk political change!

By Corina Rebegea|Washington D.C.

The European Union’s Eastern Partnership Program (EaP) has just turned 10. There were celebrations, but also less congratulatory assessments of how far the six countries have actually gone in their democratic and economic development as a result of this framework. According to the less optimistic evaluations of the EaP’s success, the mechanisms and leverage employed by the EU are insufficient or inadequate to sustain long-lasting reforms, in particular when it comes to the important areas of rule of law and anticorruption agenda. This has caused many analysts to question the true impact of the EU’s involvement in domestic reform processes.