Freedom, Security and Justice
The leaders, Ukraine and Moldova, are at about the same level of FSJ cooperation with the EU, although Moldova is apparently doing better where Approximation of FSJ is concerned, while Ukraine is doing better where Linkage of FSJ is concerned. Ukraine took the lead for a long time, while Moldova made steps to catch up and even moved ahead after its change of government in 2009. Meanwhile, Georgia has had more success in combating corruption and organized crime, where it outperforms the leaders. Armenia and Azerbaijan have a substantially shorter record of institutional FSJ cooperation with the EU and weaker political will. In the case of Belarus, obvious political limitations dominate.
FSJ cooperation between the EU and EaP countries is an issue of great importance, as it indicates the level of integration/cooperation in the most sensitive areas, which require a high degree of confidence between partners. FSJ cooperation is closely connected with the maturity of democratic institutions and rule of law. Increasing standards of FSJ cooperation may encourage countries to proceed with crucial reforms in combating corruption and organized crime, fighting illegal migration and human trafficking, and stimulate reforms aimed at better protection of human rights, more effective law enforcement and a transparent judiciary.
The specific carrot for FSJ cooperation with EaP countries is visa liberalization, which is expected to stimulate and guide important reforms aimed at making these countries safer for both their own citizens and foreign partners.
At the same time, FSJ cooperation can raise certain risks when it comes to relations with authoritarian and repressive regimes, as in the case of Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski. Belarusian authorities detained Bialiatski in August 2011 on charges of tax evasion as a result of information provided by the Lithuanian and Polish governments on a matter presented by Minsk as “combating money-laundering.” This case clearly demonstrates the way FSJ cooperation may be misused and even used against the purpose for which it has been designed. For Ukraine, which has witnessed cases of selective justice against opposition leaders, such aspects of FSJ cooperation as data exchange, extradition and other law enforcement cooperation also entail risks. Providing asylum for some opposition party members in the EU may be the first sign of growing challenges. Thus, FSJ cooperation cannot be assessed automatically with a quantitative approach, but rather, the actual capacity of a partner to cooperate on the basis of democracy, respect for human rights and rule of law should be considered.
As mentioned, Ukraine and Moldova are the leaders of the group. Ukraine launched institutional cooperation with the EU in FSJ back in 2002, when the first EU-Ukraine Action Plan on “Freedom, Security and Justice” was signed, and updated in 2007. In the case of Moldova, there was no separate document on the matter and structured cooperation was launched under the EU-Moldova ENP Action Plan signed in 2005.
Both Ukraine and Moldova have completed negotiations on the chapter on Justice, Liberty and Security in the framework of official talks on the Association Agreements that will replace their PCAs.
For a long time, especially after the Orange Revolution in late 2004, Ukraine was seen as a pioneer in FSJ. It was the first among EaP countries to sign the Visa Facilitation Agreement (VFA) and a Readmission Agreement in 2007. Then the process was synchronized with Moldova and the Western Balkans and all agreements entered into force as of January 2008.
Georgia signed such documents with the EU in June 2010 and they entered into force in March 2011, while the negotiations with Armenia and Azerbaijan were launched in February and March 2012 respectively.
The European Commission also received a mandate for VFA and readmission talks with Belarus. Despite almost frozen relations, the Council of Foreign Ministers stressed the importance of promoting people-to-people contacts between Belarus and the EU on January 31, 2011. At the same time, the EU imposed visa restrictions on some 200 Belarusian officials involved in political repression following the presidential elections in December 2010.
Ukraine unilaterally cancelled visa requirements for EU citizens in 2005, with Moldova and Georgia following suit several months later. Armenia and Azerbaijan maintain a symmetric visa policy approach. Azerbaijan even toughened its visa policies in 2011.
In October 2009, Ukraine was the first country to start an official Visa Dialogue, with the ultimate goal of establishing a visa-free travel regime. Moldova launched its dialogue in June 2010, while other EaP countries can do so after full implementation of VFAs and Readmission Agreements.
Ukraine signed its Action Plan on Visa Liberalization (APVL) in November 2010. Moldova did likewise in January 2011. The initial period of APVL implementation showed that this new instrument was an effective tool to mobilize both countries’ governments to proceed with important legislation, including ratification of CoE and UN conventions, in such areas as integrated border management, data protection, countering human trafficking and illegal migration, protecting refugees and asylum-seekers, and so on.
In Ukraine, 13 cooperation agreements on judicial cooperation and assistance with EU Member States are currently in effect, which is the largest number among EaP countries.
Currently, no EaP country has enforced operational agreements with Europol or Eurojust. Ukraine and Moldova have only signed framework agreements with Europol.
In border management, only Ukraine and Moldova have Working Arrangements with FRONTEX, as well as valuable practical cooperation with EUBAM, the EU Border Assistance Mission. Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Armenia have all implemented an integrated border
management concept in domestic legislation, while the first three have also put together the necessary Action Plans or implementation strategy. These three countries are obviously ahead of other three EaP partners in efforts to reform border security structures into a European-style border force.
Moldova can be considered the “laboratory” for new initiatives such as the Mobility Partnership, since 2008, and the Common Visa Application Centre, since 2007.10 Armenia was also offered a Mobility Partnership in 2011 as it signed a Joint Declaration with the EU. In 2011, Moldova became the first EaP country to stop issuing non-biometric passports to its citizens and is now issuing only biometric, ICAO-compliant passports.
Yet, Georgia is the more obvious success story in such key areas as combating corruption and organized crime. This fact has been confirmed by numerous independent studies, such as Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, which gave Georgia the best score, 3.8, among all EaP countries in 2010. By contrast, Ukraine and Azerbaijan were at the bottom, with 2.4, Belarus was marginally better at 2.5, Armenia similarly at 2.6, and Moldova a still-distant 2.9.11
Ukraine and Moldova, although frontrunners on most aspects of FSJ, are more often considered countries of origin for illegal migration to the EU than other EaP countries. The government of Moldova proved most willing to cooperate comprehensively with the EU in migration and asylum. Meanwhile, Belarus and Azerbaijan are source countries for asylum-seekers, but cooperation with them is limited for political reasons.
Ukraine is the most advanced where border management is concerned, while the relative success of Moldova is restricted by the Transnistrian conflict: 450 km of the country’s border is out of control of the central government. Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia have similar problems with frozen conflicts and hostile relations with some neighbors.
To sum up, Moldova and Ukraine are at about the same level of FSJ cooperation with the EU, with Moldova being somewhat in the lead. Ukraine’s success is due to the longer formal record of cooperation with the EU in this field, whereas the political will to reform is stronger in the case of Moldova. Georgia is also a success story in such key areas as combating corruption and organized crime, while Armenia has started catching up in 2011-12. The more modest success of Azerbaijan is due to a substantially shorter record of institutional FSJ cooperation with the EU, as well as to weaker European aspirations in this country. In the case of Belarus, political risks place serious limitations on existing opportunities.
Where energy is concerned, the EaP Index analyzes the extent to which the energy markets of EaP countries are integrated with and organized similarly to EU energy markets. Since the issues of energy sector and energy policy receive a lot of attention in EU policy towards EaP countries, the Index looks at energy market regulation and the market structures of EaP countries in terms of EU standards.
All EaP countries are engaged, to a greater or lesser extent, into multilateral platforms supported by the EU. However, only Azerbaijan as major oil and gas exporter in the region and Ukraine as a major transit country have signed EU sectoral agreements (Memoranda of Understanding). The structure of Georgian and Moldovan trade with the EU also relies on energy commodities, while Belarus focuses primarily on exporting fuels, minerals and refining products.
The situation looks drastically different, however, if the normative framework and market organization of EaP countries are taken into account. Formal commitments have less to do with the real implementation of acquis communautaire in the domestic legislation of EaP countries. Ukraine, despite being full member of the Energy Community, shows very low progress by having only prepared the ground for gas market reform. It has hardly implemented any other reforms or
10 Moldova’s Foreign Policy Statewatch, Issue 30, July 2011, http://www.viitorul.org/public/3466/en/Policy%20Statewatch30_en.pdf
11 Corruption Perception Index 2010 Results http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/res...
requirements within its membership in the Energy Community. Ukraine’s heavy activity in implementing some energy efficiency incentives could be explained by its energy and CO2 intensity—the highest among EaP countries.
Moldova, also a member of the Energy Community, and, interestingly, Armenia, demonstrate better performance in implementing European reforms of the gas and electricity markets. The latter, despite having the weakest links to the EU in terms of energy, demonstrates relatively good progress in areas of environment and electricity, in setting and supporting RES targets, and even in solving grid connection issues which are problematic in other EaP countries. Georgia, an Energy Community observer like Armenia, shows partial compliance with the EU directives and regulations, while it pursues gas and electricity market liberalization and is close to full legal unbundling.
EaP countries have only begun to transform their energy sectors in accordance with EU regulations. Advanced reforms within the Third Energy Package and ambitious 20-20-20 targets, which aim at deep market restructuring and wide-scale infrastructure investments are not yet on the agenda. Independent regulators in Armenia and Moldova and free access to infrastructure in Georgia and partly Ukraine are the first steps that have already been taken in reshaping local markets in this direction.
Where such structural indicators as EaP countries’ energy consumption are concerned, the energy intensity of these countries is twice as high as the EU average and the RES share in primary energy consumption is still low, though increasing. GHG emission reduction targets remain high because national policies are less focused on production, which is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. This means that even having implemented EU standards, EaP countries will need to make painstaking efforts in order to bring their energy market structures closer to those existing in the EU. This process may take several years if not decades as the direction and pace of reforms are defined not only by political will, but also by economic, industrial and (geo)political factors that often act as intervening variables.
Modern transport policy should be aimed at making transport connections smoother, safer and more reliable for all transport users from the EU and EaP countries. So far, EaP countries have not demonstrated much success in pursuing the goal of deeper integration with the common transport spaces of the EU both in terms of infrastructure and regulatory environment. However, a closer look at some countries reveals some progress. Georgia and Moldova have already signed an Agreement on Common Aviation Area (CAA), and Azerbaijan began negotiations in 2011. At the same time, Ukraine, the first to start talks to join the CAA, is still far from achieving this goal. Nevertheless, these efforts by EaP countries show their intentions to ensure better quality and reasonable prices for aviation services for all users.
All EaP countries are located along transport axes between the EU and Russia and Asian countries. Consequently, they occupy a very advantageous transit position, in particular Ukraine, which is characterized by the largest number of international transport corridors, which are priorities for the EU’s transport system. However, transport companies from Belarus and Moldova have also managed to benefit from their location and obtain relatively high numbers of permits to enter the EU, compared to Ukraine. Caucasus countries do not have a common land border with the EU and are therefore disadvantaged in terms of integration with the EU’s land transport system. Nevertheless, they have made noticeable efforts in recent years to improve the quality of their transport infrastructure and customs procedures. As a result, being in more disadvantageous geographic conditions, they are now more advanced in logistic performance and infrastructure, which allows them to compete with Ukraine and Belarus, their larger EU-bordering neighbors.
In terms of regulatory environment, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia rank higher. Ukraine comes in only forth and is likely to be surpassed by Moldova in the near future if the current pace of reforms continues. While Moldova has demonstrated some progress, reforms in Ukraine have almost stopped over the last two years. While Ukraine has allowed third parties to access port and airport infrastructure and unbundle different business activities there, it has not established an independent
transport regulator and has not significantly reduced the influence of the state, in particular in railways and roads. Belarus has the weakest regulatory environment by EU standards.
In terms of road safety, Georgia has shown the worst indicator, though this can be partly attributed to its complicated terrain. In general, all EaP countries demonstrate poor transport safety, which means all of them have to work hard to improve this aspect of their transport systems.
To sum up, all countries under consideration are at different progress levels in transport integration and harmonization with the EU. However, the efforts of Moldova and the Caucasus countries are noteworthy and it is expected that these countries will swiftly progress along the European pathway.
Environment and Sustainable Development
In this part of the Index, Moldova, Belarus and Georgia are the best performers, while Ukraine and Azerbaijan are the worst, mostly due to the high strain on their environments and poor environmental conditions.
We assessed performance in two major issue areas: 1) environment, climate change and sustainable development policy and 2) resource efficiency, impact on / state of the environment. In the first set of issues, Moldova shows the highest results. Ukraine comes in second, followed by Armenia and Georgia. Azerbaijan and Belarus close the list.
Moldova is leading in terms of policy, where environmental protection has a crosscutting nature and environmental policy integration (EPI), as demanded by the EU. Major international environmental conventions with compliance monitoring mechanisms assess Moldova as a country that complies with major requirements. Ukraine has showed some progress in terms of policy development and implementation. It recently adopted a new environmental policy consisting of a Law on State Environmental Strategy and the National Environmental Action Plan, where the EPI is a core. Ukraine is also leading among all EaP countries in terms of the number of Environmental Conventions and Protocols it has ratified. At the same time, Ukraine did not comply with the Aarhus and Espoo UN ECE Conventions or the Kyoto Protocol in 2011. Yet, after having implemented the recommendations of the Compliance Committee of the Kyoto Protocol, Ukraine was allowed to resume its participation in trade of greenhouse gas emissions quotas in March 2012. Armenia comes in third and is the only country among the six EaP countries that has ratified the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to the Espoo Convention, one of the main EPI instruments. Georgia, in fourth place, adopted the second generation of the National Environmental Action Plan in December 2012. Azerbaijan and Belarus lag behind in terms of environmental policy and legislation development.
In sustainable development policy, only Armenia has recently adopted the National Program on Sustainable Development. Notably, this was developed with the active participation of civil society. Also, Armenia has a functioning National Council on Sustainable Development (NCSD) under the President, where NGOs have a seat. Moldova went through a structured process including NGO involvement for the preparation of its own National SD Strategy (NSDS), but the Government did not adopt it, while other sectoral programs on sustainable development were adopted. The NCSD in Moldova was established with the participation of NGOs as well. Azerbaijan has a State Sustainable Development of Regions Program, while National SD Strategies have not yet been adopted in Georgia, Belarus or Ukraine. The latter has the SD principles and elements incorporated into its State Environmental Strategy. All countries, except Armenia, lack effective institutional provisions for the SD at the national level, though preparations for the Rio+20 Global Conference on Sustainable Development revitalized some activities on SD. Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova are all developing 10-year framework policies on Sustainable Consumption and Production.
In Sustainable Development and Trade, several indicators were considered. Ukraine ratified the largest number of International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions, 69, among EaP countries and 60 of them are already in force. Azerbaijan follows with 57 and 55 correspondingly, Belarus with 49 and 42, Moldova with 42 and 40, Armenia with 29 and 8, while Georgia has ratified and implemented 16. There has been little progress in imposing an EU-comparable mechanism for the prevention of illegal and unofficial fishery. Only Moldova adopted a relevant law, while Ukraine’s legislation meets
the standards only partially. Control of legal trade in forestry is slightly better, in particular in Armenia, Belarus and Ukraine, but the matter needs further investigation.
The analysis of the 12 indicators on resource efficiency, impact on the environment and state of the environment in this Index demonstrates that Belarus has the best environmental situation among EaP partners, followed by Georgia and Moldova. Ukraine has the worst situation. This result correlates with the recently-published Yale University Environmental Performance Index (EPI) covering 163 countries. In it, Ukraine ranks well below other EaP countries. Armenia and Azerbaijan have the worst water exploitation indexes (WEI), and Georgia and Armenia have performed poorly where water pollution is concerned. While Ukraine’s WEI is comparable with the EU-27 average, Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s is double. Ukraine is a leader on SO2 pollution, showing approximately 3 times higher emissions than EU-27.
At the same time, the level of individual consumption of all EaP countries is not yet at EU-27 levels, confirmed by lower municipal waste production per capita. Where recycling is concerned, Belarus is recycling 12% and Ukraine 5-8%, while the others are not even at 1%, compared to over 22% in the EU-27.
The analysis demonstrated that, in terms of reducing greenhouse emissions compared to reduction potential, some countries actually increased their emissions in 2010—from 10% to 30%—, which could also indicate a need to re-define reduction potential. At the moment, Belarus is leading in the region with 51% and Moldova with 42%, compared to a 40% reduction by EU-27 in 2010.
Georgia has the highest pesticide input per hectare, almost twice exceeding the EU average, Moldova and Belarus correspond to EU practices, and Ukraine is the best, taking only 0,5-1 kg per hectare making least impact on the soil.
Meanwhile, the level of soil erosion is very high in EaP countries. All of the EaP countries exceed the EU-27 average. The worst situation is in Ukraine, where erosion is up to 57.5%, three times higher than in the EU-27. Armenia follows with 43.7%, Azerbaijan comes in at 36.4% and Georgia – 33%. At 26.0% and 19.3%, Moldova and Belarus look relatively better, although they still have a high share of eroded soil per territory.
In terms of forest area, only Belarus and Georgia exceed the EU-27 share. Ukraine has proportionally half as much forestland as the EU-27 average, while Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova all have only one third. A similar situation is observed with natural protected areas. None of the EaP countries came close to the EU-27 average indicator, with Azerbaijan being the best with 2/3 of EU areas, with Ukraine at 1/3, Moldova with 1/4 being the worst.
A general conclusion can be drawn that despite some success in policy elaboration and international cooperation, implementation of new strategies, plans and laws, all EaP countries lag behind when it comes to resource efficiency and the state of/impact on the environment. For the time being, Moldova is the most successful in its environmental policy effectiveness, while Belarus and Georgia follow. Ukraine is the biggest country in Europe by territory after Russia, with a long history of industrial and conventional agriculture within the former USSR. As such, it inherited heavy environmental consequences that are yet to be solved. This explains the largest gap among all EaP countries between modern environmental policy and the modest results of its implementation.
This part of the Index looks at the mobility of ordinary people, including students, at educational policies, focusing on the Bologna process, and at policies on culture, youth, the information society, media, and audio-visual use.
Where mobility is concerned, Moldova is far ahead of other countries, followed by Ukraine and Georgia, with the remaining three lagging significantly behind. Although Belarus receives the highest number of EU visas per capita and is close to the EU geographically, due to limited domestic opportunities for mobility such as legislation for student mobility and the availability of low-cost flights, it lags behind Georgia, a much more geographically distant country.
Participation in EU programs and agencies is open to all EaP countries that have Partnership and Cooperation Agreements with the EU, i.e., all but Belarus. Several EU programs are open to Belarus for participation as well. Participation in selected Programs and Agencies is defined by the European Commission according to the needs of each country and provided for in bilateral Protocols. A PCA Protocol has been signed by Ukraine and Moldova.
Moldova leads among EaP countries in terms of participation in EU programs and agencies. It is followed by Georgia, Armenia and only then Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Belarus. This is largely due to the fact that we mostly measured per capita participation in different programs. Where absolute figures are concerned, Ukraine, as the biggest country in the region, leads in participation in different programs.
Policies on education, culture, youth, information society, media, and audio-visual use
With regard to the Bologna process and general education reforms, Georgia is the best performer. Georgia managed to make serious reform efforts back in the early 2000s and the situation now in many ways reflects what was done before. Belarus is lagging behind on the majority of indicators. This is due to the fact that education in this country is totally subordinated to the state at the central level, while reforms are mostly formal. Other countries, notably Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan, have so far preserved the soviet legacy with the state trying to control universities and at the same time attempting to implement Bologna principles. The situation regarding the autonomy of universities with regard to academic, institutional, personnel and financial components illustrates this rather vividly: the state controls universities in many respects, denies them the right to issue diplomas and grant qualifications and allows only limited institutional and academic freedoms. Ukraine remains the outsider where the new law on education is concerned, while other EaP countries have reformed education legislation. At the same time, Ukraine is doing better in terms of the National Qualifications Framework. No EaP country has made progress in providing opportunities for foreign students, including students from the EU. The majority of foreign students still come from neighboring former soviet-bloc countries and Central Asia.
Where culture, youth, information society, media, and audio-visual use are concerned, all EaP countries have more or less equal scores. More specifically, Ukraine, Moldova and Armenia are the most progressive in cultural policy, although Ukraine initiated reforms and monitoring through the Cultural Policy Review later than other EaP countries. Specific provisions are defined by the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) and the activities of the Council of Europe in this field, governed by the European Cultural Convention (1955) and participation in European cultural policy dialogue at the level of the Council of Europe.
Regarding youth policy, we looked at the national concept or legislation on youth policy, the national youth report, and at legal provisions for volunteering and for youth work. There were two different approaches in the region regarding national documents on youth: some countries use or amend old laws from the early 1990s, while others develop new legislation.
Apart from Belarus, all EaP countries are making progress in developing new strategies and laws, such as a law on volunteering. There are strong debates on the provision of youth work and informal education in Armenia. Until 2009, there were only fragmentary provisions for youth policy in Georgia, but the development of a National Youth Policy started in 2009 and the new law was already adopted and will come into force later in 2012. Georgia adopted its cultural legislation rather recently, but it is open to develop a new quality of youth policy. Moldova has no comprehensive youth report—only numerous fragmented studies on youth. There has been progress in preparing a new law on youth. Moldova also adopted a Law on Volunteering and at the moment is the only country that provides conditions for youth work according to an informal educational strategy. Ukraine has passed any number of amendments and also adopted a Law on volunteering, while Belarus has stuck to its old legislation.
The Eastern Partnership countries are the recipients of Official Development Assistance (ODA) provided by the European Union. Despite the fact that the EaP countries are not traditional EU development partners, ODA constitutes an important linkage dimension, as it involves not only the transfer of financial resources, but also the exchange of experience and know-how as well as contacts between people.
In the EaP Index, we focused in particular on ODA delivered by the European Union itself (assistance delivered by the EU institutions, subsequently referred to as “EU”), including ENPI national and regional assistance, participation in thematic instruments and cooperation with European financial institutions. Nevertheless, to measure the real linkages between the EU and EaP countries in terms of assistance, we also examined the volume of aid delivered by Union Member States. In 2010, the volume of aid provided by the EU and EU-27 was almost equal—around EUR 400 million each—), totaling slightly above EUR 800 million.
Among EaP countries, European assistance plays evidently the biggest role in the cases of Moldova and Georgia. In these two countries, EU-27 and EU aid represents each 1-2% of GDP, whereas in the case of the remaining countries the assistance links with the EU are rather marginal. In the case of Ukraine, it stems from the size of the country and its GDP, in the case of Azerbaijan, Belarus and, to a lesser extent, Armenia, the limited level of assistance is a result of the political situation and evident lack of willingness toward European Union integration. This refers to both assistance provided by individual Member States and to EU aid.
The key assistance instrument used by the EU in relation to Eastern Partnership countries is the European Neighborhood Policy Instrument. For the years 2007-2011, the EU committed around EUR 1,5 billion to the EaP countries, with the biggest share—more than one third—planned as aid for Ukraine. The only country that will not benefit significantly from these funds is Belarus.
To measure the linkages between the EU and EaP in terms of transfer of experiences, know-how and contacts between people, we also studied the number of TAIEX projects aimed at providing targeted policy and legal advice, usually by sending an expert from an EU Member State to help a ministry or local government in a partner country with a specific reform task. In 2007-11, two countries, Ukraine and Moldova, each implemented more than 100 TAIEX projects, whereas in other countries, the scope of activities of this kind was much smaller. This somewhat mirrors the depth of engagement of these EaP countries’ institutions in approximating its legislation with the acquis communautaire. We also examined the number of Twinning projects focused on sending officials from EU Member State administrations to work together with their counterparts in the administration of a partner country. In this case, the projects implemented in Ukraine—40 over 2007-2011—were most numerous, although other countries, except for Belarus, also benefit from this scheme.
All countries except Azerbaijan are involved in ENPI East regional and interregional projects, in particular Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus, which are in closest proximity to the EU and share the longest land borders with EU Member States. Ukraine and Moldova also received additional EU support, on top of the EU funding amounts already allocated for those countries, from the so-called Governance Facility aimed at providing support to those partners who have made the most progress in implementing the agreed reform agenda set out in their Action Plan. Additionally, all countries, with the exception of Azerbaijan and Belarus, benefit from the Neighborhood Investment Facility. On the other hand, only Armenia and Moldova employ high-level EU advisors in their governments.
Regarding European financial institutions, we examined the loans offered by the European Investment Bank—EIB, one of the EU institutions—and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is outside the EU institutional framework. While all EaP countries have recently benefited from loans offered by the EBRD, the EIB is actively involved in all countries with the exception of Azerbaijan and Belarus.
Management of European Integration
In the 2012 Index, unlike the previous one, we have relied on a more elaborate set of issues and questions to assess the management of European integration in EaP countries. We have studied institutional arrangements for European integration for coordination and implementation, legal approximation for institutional and policy aspects, management of EU assistance, professional development in the field of European integration for civil servants and in universities, and the participation of civil society.
Among EaP countries, management of European integration seems to reflect the level of priority placed on the EU in each country. Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, those that have the greatest EU aspirations, are ahead of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus that have weaker EU aspirations. Georgia and Moldova, the frontrunners, are approximately at the same level of performance, while Ukraine lags somewhat behind. Armenia and Azerbaijan are further behind and show similar results. Therefore, the EU is on the agenda in all six EaP countries, albeit to a lesser extent in Belarus.
Performance in different aspects of European integration management is uneven. Where institutional arrangements for European integration, that is, coordination and implementation are concerned, Moldova and Georgia are far ahead, and Armenia has caught up with Ukraine. This is largely so due to Ukraine’s poor performance compared to two or three years ago when the country had a relatively efficient coordination mechanism.
Although none of the EaP countries have established an EU coordination mechanism that is be comparable to the UKIE in Poland, in Georgia and Moldova, the official in charge of European integration is a deputy premier, which entails the power to coordinate the system. This is also the case in Ukraine, although this official has a very broad portfolio in which European integration is just one component. In Moldova, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, who is also the deputy premier, is in charge. In Georgia, the relevant functions are performed by the State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration. This office is the main coordinating authority for EU affairs and serves as the secretariat of the European Integration Committee, the latter being a council of ministers that meets regularly. In Armenia, the Special Commission for EU Affairs is headed by the Chair of the National Security Council, who reports directly to the President and is completely in charge, but its powers are more advisory in nature. In Azerbaijan, much like in Ukraine, a deputy premier with a broad portfolio coordinates European integration.
Ukraine leads in terms of legal approximation, closely followed by Georgia. This is not to say that comprehensive approximation takes place in reality, but it reflects developed policy and procedural arrangements that were taken over from the previous government. In fact, this part of the Index looks at policy and procedures, while the impact of approximation is assessed in the Approximation dimension. Georgia probably has the most efficient system of legal approximation given that procedurally any bill or regulation submitted to the legislature has to be accompanied by an explanatory note that scrutinizes compliance with the EU acquis.
Ukraine is also leading in our assessment of training in the field of European integration, both for civil servants and at Universities. This has to do with the fact that Ukraine has a special state program for training in the field of European integration with limited budget allocations, and a National Academy of Public Administration that organizes courses. Other EaP countries mostly rely on international donor support, including TAIEX and twinning instruments of the EU. At the university level, there is no state support for this process, although European studies are slowly developing in all EaP countries. Overall, there is much room for improvement in all EaP countries in regards to the capacity building of civil servants that deal with the EU.
Management and coordination of EU assistance is less developed in Ukraine and Armenia than in other countries. Meanwhile, Moldova has a firm lead. Azerbaijan and Belarus are doing relatively well due to being strongly centralized with a strong vertical system and due to the fact that they receive much less funding than other countries, which in a way reduces the workload for them.
From our perspective, a criterion such as the political position of the National Coordinator for EU assistance is crucial because it consolidates the functions of strategizing national reforms and coordinating the instruments for their implementation. This directly affects the efficiency of EU assistance. In this respect, Moldova is the only EaP country where the Premier is the National Coordinator for EU assistance.
The assessment of EaP countries according to the criterion of a donor coordination mechanism again puts Moldova in the lead. In Moldova, the External Assistance Unit within the State Chancellery is in charge, while in other EaP countries the coordination of EU assistance is less clearly streamlined and sometimes is divided between different institutions or is in the hands of a ministry.
In this Index, we have also examined awareness-raising about European integration and found that activities aimed at making society better aware of the EU and the costs and benefits of European integration are not carried out in any of the EaP countries. If such activities take place, they are funded and implemented by donors and NGOs, while the governments of these countries place little importance on this issue.
Finally, we looked at the level of civil society involvement in European integration among EaP countries. We studied both civil society activities and their impact on decision-making concerning European integration. Moldova and Georgia are the frontrunners due to the fact that civil society in these countries has more chances to be included in the policy process. Ukrainian civil society, although active and vibrant, has enjoyed very limited access to the policy process in the past year.