Towards Better Monitoring of Democracy in the Western Balkans

The project’s goal is to enhance the European Commission’s capacity to effectively monitor and report on reforms in the functioning of democratic institutions in the Western Balkans. This goal comes at a time when the region faces significant challenges in managing democratic institutions (FoDI), threatening its stability, legitimacy of governance, and likelihood of future enlargement.

The Commission’s current methods have proven to be insufficiently effective in accurately assessing and measuring developments in critical areas such as elections, parliament, governance, civil society, and civilian oversight of security forces. By crafting and proposing more robust assessment mechanisms, the project aims to ensure that the Commission’s reports are credible and reliable, which is crucial for the integrity of the EU accession process and for facilitating gradual integration.

The project aims to achieve this goal through the following specific improvements and changes vis-à-vis the Commission’s six Western Balkan reports on the state of democracies in these countries:

  1. Quantification: Upon successful implementation of the quantification methodology, the FoDI from the latest enlargement report will gain a numeric value (on a scale from 1 to 5), allowing for the progress to be measured in contrast to last year’s reports.
  2. Tracking consistency: Implementing the methodology for tracking consistency will allow for comparing two enlargement packages (2022 and 2023) and determining the degree of stagnation or trend of change.
  3. Policy recommendations for the Commission’s forthcoming revision of its approach to the annual report development: The project will provide concrete policy recommendations based on the quantified data and analysis, aiming to influence the Commission’s revision process and integrate the proposed improvements into its assessment framework.

In addition to its core objectives, the project will have a significant impact by ensuring wide outreach. The findings and recommendations will be disseminated to the European Commission and other relevant EU and national stakeholders through email, which will be followed by online meetings if requested. Structured discussions will be produced and broadcast in podcast format among experts, making the findings accessible and understandable to the expert community. Furthermore, a webinar will be organised to promote the research results and discussions on the overall state of democracy in the Western Balkans, aiming to engage a broad audience from the region and the EU.

Contact Person: Strahinja Subotić, Programme Manager and Senior Researcher,

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