The Quality of Governance and EU Regional Policy as a key determinant in the process of the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU
This paper analyzes the quality of governance and financial assistance as key determinants for successful functioning of the process of integration within the European Union (EU). Moreover, the paper develops a comparison of the Western Balkans with current EU members and the forthcoming, on the basis of the selected indicators of governance (rule of law, democracy, corruption, political stability, and effectiveness of state) with the experience of the implementation of the reforms of public administration. Various surveys show that the Western Balkans, by all quality of governance indicators, especially in the rule of law, lags behind 28 (twenty eight) of the current EU countries (without taking in account the Great Britain). The low level of the functioning of rule of law, combined with inadequate and unreformed public administration is potentially the biggest obstacle in the association agreement of the Western Balkans with EU, but also as challenge in achieving sustainable social and economic development.
Whereas in the case of the Western Balkan countries, there is an obvious difference between proclaiming and internal reality, which is further compounded by a difficult political and economic transition, as well as in social domain - where poverty and corruption are the most worrying. The research data obtained from independent bodies - academic and research institutions, civil society and international organizations - confirm this controversial picture of the Western Balkans. Negative attitudes still prevail in Western Balkans political elites and if given the chance to political manipulation, may behave unpredictably. All this makes it obligatory to make a comparative overview, for depicting in particular the quality of governance as sine qua non for the Western Balkans countries‘ integration in EU.
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