The latest EESC policy paper – “EU-promoted reforms in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine: progress or challenge?”
- In recent years, the EU has made considerable efforts to help Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine to carry out internal reforms. To do this, the EU has relied on the Association Agreements/DCFTAs (AA/DCFTA) and macro-financial agreements (MFAs) with the national governments of this particular part of the Eastern European neighbourhood. The AA/DCFTAs contain guidelines for the carrying out of comprehensive reforms in various sectors of public affairs. To facilitate and structure the reforms along the European integration objective which is enshrined in the AA/DCFTAs, the EU and the three countries in question are supposed to design ‘Association Agendas’ (AAs). Georgia and Moldova are operating with recent AAs, unlike Ukraine which did not adopt a more up-to-date AA after the 2015 document.
- These documents, which were conceived by the EU with Ukraine and Moldova in mind, contain more actions to be taken than is the case for Georgia. Deficient areas which tend to coincide in all three countries are the judiciary, public administration, the fight against corruption, and energy. In addition, the EU can also use MFAs which allow a strategic and calibrated approach in the pursuit of reform. The strength of the latter lies in the application of the conditionality mechanism which usually drives the most urgent reforms. However, the EU may face situations in which, due to a lack of progress, it has to reintroduce older conditions into the new MFAs.
- To turn challenges into progress, this policy brief presents a series of recommendations, such as prioritising reforms which can be integrated into the rule of law, expanding the conditionality mechanism against non-MFA agreements, focusing on improving levels of professionalism amongst public servants, and the implementation of a reform-monitoring mechanism together with like-minded pan-European organisations. To increase the effectiveness of reform assistance to Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, this policy brief suggests practical solutions towards updating existing instruments and some novel ideas which take into account some of the political, institutional, and policy-making shortcomings of the past.
Denis Cenusa is an Associated expert with EESC and researcher at the Institut für Politikwissenschaft at Justus-Liebig University in Giessen (Germany), where he conducts his doctoral studies on global governance and state resilience in the EU’s neighbourhood.