Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 250

Accession revolution in Brussels – a new flagship – Usain Bolt and the quality of statistics

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 10 novembre 2015

new sailsThe annual progress reports have long been the flagship of the European Commission’s enlargement policy. And yet progress reports have fallen into crisis in recent years, as their prose became incomprehensible and the methodology behind them unfathomable. Their credibility came to resemble the tattered mainsail of a clipper after a devastating storm.In 2014 a team of civil servants in the directorate general for enlargement of the European Commission (today DG Near) set out to fix the sails and to turn their flagship, the progress reports, around. These efforts gathered speed with the new Commission coming in in summer 2014. This week on Tuesday the first edition of a new generation of EU accession reports will be published. If developed further in coming years, this may be the beginning of a revolution in accession methodology.
The EU has never needed a credible enlargement policy more than today. In a number of countries reforms are going into reverse. EU leverage is declining. Bilateral vetoes have proliferated Turkey has now been negotiating for ten years. Macedonia has been stuck at the candidate stage for a decade. Bosnia has been told not to submit an application yet. Kosovo has been told that it cannot submit an application, perhaps forever.In January 2014 Christian Danielsson, the director general of DG Enlargement, invited ESI to present “provocative ideas” on the future of enlargement at the annual “away day” brainstorming of the staff of the directorate. We argued that the most promising way forward was to assess progress so as to allow for meaningful comparisons between countries:”Enlargement new sails1policy needs to mobilise people or it fails. Without the mobilisation of policy makers, civil servants, civil society, and interest groups in accession countries, the kind of changes that have to happen will not happen. In recent years the technical language of ‘chapter openings’ has crowded out a focus on what makes accession policy worthwhile and inspiring: More transparent spending whenever public agencies procure goods and services. A credible strategy to ensure safe food. Environmental inspectorates that ensure that dangerous waste is dealt with appropriately. A credible judiciary. Less discrimination of minorities, whether LGBT or religious minorities. Rules for businesses that allow fair competition.” (photos: new sails)

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