Europe’s neighbors have given a mixed response to the European Union’s incentives for democratic reform.
“While progress has not been universal, since last year, many partners have taken bold steps to accelerate their democratization and reform processes,” according to an annual assessment of the European Neighborhood Policy released yesterday. The report assesses the progress made in 12 neighboring countries, including several post-Soviet states, over the past year and shares recommendations for the way forward.
“There are a number of issues on which partner countries need to step up their reform efforts and there are aspects of its offer where the EU needs to deliver more promptly,” the report suggests, with regard to reform prospects in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Jordan, Lebanon, Moldova, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine, Algeria, Israel, Libya and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
On Ukraine, the report welcomes Kyiv’s progress towards negotiating an association agreement with the EU, Europolitics reports, but expresses alarm over rule of law, citing several politically motivated trials, including the case of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
“The EU repeatedly expressed its concern at the degradation of the rule of law in the country and the slow pace of a number of political reforms,” the report said.
The EU has responded with “determination” to a rapidly-changing circumstances in its neighborhood, says the assessment – “Delivering on a new European Neighborhood Policy” – drafted jointly by High Representative Catherine Ashton and Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele.
“Applying the reform-rewarding logic of ‘more for more’, the EU has supported those partners embarking on political reforms,” a Commission statement said.
“I have always said that we will be judged on our work with our immediate neighbors, and I am convinced that we are moving in the right direction,” said Ashton.