Political influence prevents the much-needed democratic development in our states – creation of institutions of sufficient level of integrity and credibility which really deserve the trust of citizens. Lack of trust in state institutions cannot be an ally of democratic norms, values or stability of our societies.
A demanding and hard work of analyzing fulfilment of the political criteria for membership in the European Union in the areas of elections, judiciary, fight against corruption and crime, media and public administration reform is now behind the research teams of the Center for Democratic Transition (CDT), Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA), Metamorphosis Foundation and the Citizens Association “Why not?”.
We also owe thanks to the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Balkan Democracy Fund for their support and assistance in realization of this project.
We want to draw attention to important moments in the process of meeting the political criteria in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
The process of EU integration is generally and formally progressing in all four states and the set parameters and criteria are being met with varying degrees of success, and viewed from that side – there are reasons for satisfaction.
There is also an evident dominance of political parties over the institutions of legislative, executive and judicial power, to which the Constitutions give the greatest power.
Within these institutions, executive authorities have the primacy and dominant role. Despite formal progress, fight against corruption is selective, slow and often hindered by the action of different forces and interests.
The idea of the region joining the EU is still the only acceptable alternative. If, for any reason, there is room for action and entry of some other actors different in terms of values, the perspective of the region is not bright.
Therefore, the EU should not overlook the Western Balkans. It must not be indecisive and leave room for the destructive effects of others. It should not be implausible nor blur the perspectives of enlargement and economic development.
Most importantly, in the countries of the region, it should not allow any compromise with democratic values and principles.