Edition: International | Greek
MENU

Home » Europe

Hundreds of millions of EU funds ‘ineffective’ in strengthening Balkan rule of law

The European Commission admits more needs to be done for rule of law reforms in the Western Balkans following a European Court of Auditors report which deemed the €700 million of EU work “ineffective” and “not successful”

By: EBR - Posted: Wednesday, January 12, 2022

“EU support for the rule of law in the Western Balkans has clearly not been successful in bringing about change,” said a member of the court of auditors, Juhan Parts, in a press release.
“EU support for the rule of law in the Western Balkans has clearly not been successful in bringing about change,” said a member of the court of auditors, Juhan Parts, in a press release.

by Alice Taylor

The European Commission admits more needs to be done for rule of law reforms in the Western Balkans following a European Court of Auditors report which deemed the €700 million of EU work “ineffective” and “not successful”.

The report, completed by the Commissions oversight agency, said that EU rule of law programmes worth over €700 million between 2014 and 2020 had little effect and impact in candidate countries.

“EU support for the rule of law in the Western Balkans has clearly not been successful in bringing about change,” said a member of the court of auditors, Juhan Parts, in a press release.

It noted that it was not just the EU at fault, but also “insufficient political will and lack of commitment” by local governments, which has led to EU support being “generally insufficient to combat problems in areas such as the independence of the justice system, the concentration of power, political interference, and corruption.”

The auditors criticised the EU for “inconsistent application of preconditions for financing and implementation of projects”. They added that Brussels has “rarely used the possibility of suspension of aid in case the beneficiary fails to respect the basic principles of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights,” noting that these mechanisms should be used as many country’s are remaining stagnant or even backsliding in several key areas.

Furthermore, it found that they often failed to measure outcomes in terms of EU-led projects and “few projects are likely to be sustainable.” This lack of sustainability means that money pumped into EU-led projects is de facto wasted if it does not lead to lasting change.

Progress made over the last two decades has been “modest”, which in turn threatens the sustainability of support the EU has provided during the accession process.

“Ongoing reforms lose credibility if they do not yield tangible results,” it continued.

When asked by EURACTIV for a response to the report’s findings, a Commission spokesperson said, “Important progress has been achieved over the past years, but it is clear that much more needs to be done.”

They added that the Commission welcomes the report, noting that it also said there were “some positive developments in rule of law such as improving the efficiency of the judiciary and the development of the rule of law.” They also noted that part of the blame lies with “insufficient domestic political will to drive reforms forward.”

The Commissions response continued that while some partners have made progress, “challenges in the rule of law in the region persist and further efforts in this fundamental area of EU enlargement policy are needed to create a genuine rule of law culture, as well as stronger political commitment in the Western Balkans to take forward key reforms.”

They described the auditors critical report as “a useful contribution” to their efforts in engaging Western Balkan partners in advancing reforms and consolidating the rule of law across the region.

*first published in: www.euractiv.com

READ ALSO

EU Actually

European Parliament elects an anti-abortion President

N. Peter KramerBy: N. Peter Kramer

Roberta Metsola has been elected as the youngest ever President of the European Parliament and the first woman in the role for 20 years

View 04/2021 2021 Digital edition

Magazine

Current Issue

04/2021 2021

View past issues
Subscribe
Advertise
Digital edition

Europe

EU should advance foreign intelligence-gathering capacity, EU lawmaker says

EU should advance foreign intelligence-gathering capacity, EU lawmaker says

The EU should develop its own foreign intelligence services to provide itself with credible information about possible foreign threats, according to an upcoming European Parliament proposal

Business

5 forces driving the new world of work

5 forces driving the new world of work

Labour markets around the world were already going through significant transformations when COVID-19 hit two years ago

MARKET INDICES

Powered by Investing.com
All contents © Copyright EMG Strategic Consulting Ltd. 1997-2022. All Rights Reserved   |   Home Page  |   Disclaimer  |   Website by Theratron