Improving governance in Kosovo: Evaluating the Impact of EU Conditionality through Policy and Financial Assistance

This paper seeks to evaluate the impact of EU policy and funds aimed at improving governance and controlling corruption in Kosovo. It examines the interrelation between EU conditionality as expressed in different policy documents and the financial assistance provided by the EU to Kosovo in the area of rule of law. The focus is on the period since 2007, although the paper begins with a brief overview of the conflict in Kosovo and its aftermath. The paper then tracks how the anti-corruption discourse features in policy documents and funding priorities, highlighting the EU conditionality mechanisms applied and the development assistance provided. It evaluates conditionality in the light of Kosovo’s anti-corruption performance during this period. The paper draws conclusions as to the effectiveness of EU policy and financial assistance in the area of anti-corruption, with a view to informing the ongoing policy debate on how to strengthen EU leverage in improving anti-corruption efforts in aspiring member-states, particularly in a post-conflict context.

Democracy in Decline

What is the state of global democracy? According to renowned democracy expert Professor Larry Diamond who spoke last week at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance , democracy around the world continues to decline largely because of a lack of good governance.

During the event, chaired by ERCAS Director Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Professor Diamond presented evidence that between 2005 and 2014, Freedom House scores (assessments of political rights and civil liberties, both of which are reported every year by the organisation) consistently declined. While 5 new democracies (Fiji, Kosovo, Madagascar, Maldives, Solomon Islands) were added to the global tally, the overall trend is shifting away from democracy.

Diamond highlighted the breakdown of democracy in Russia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand and Kenya. In Africa, 25 nations declined in their Freedom House scores, 11 improved, and democracy overall on the continent eroded. He argued that the situation in Venezuela is continuing to deteriorate, and pointed to the incipient populist authoritarian leadership in Bolivia and Ecuador as further cause for alarm.

Shifting focus to the Middle East, Diamond looked at what he dubbed an “Arab Freeze”, arguing that the hope of the Arab Spring has in fact failed to deliver democratic gains, with the exception of Tunisia where democracy is slowly taking hold.

Why have so many democracies broken down? Diamond argues that in all instances there is a weak rule of law coupled with executive abuse of power. Many fragile or failed democracies are also quite complicated countries; they are quite ethnically or religiously or linguistically diverse.  If, as Diamond pointed out, effective institutions are not developed and if broad and inclusive political coalitions are not developed, the results (for example in Ukraine) can be disastrous. Poor economic performance can also have a detrimental effect on democracy, but Diamond argues that government performance and perception of legitimacy by citizens is sometimes as or more important than mere economic success.

With many established democracies mired in legislative deadlock, and authoritarian countries gaining global influence, there seems to be little hope of inspiring new democracies. The rise of China for example as a global economic power could have negative impacts on leaders of non-democratic states who could argue that authoritarianism has produced good economic results. On a slightly more upbeat note, Diamond did point out that there is a real possibility (even in China) of economic success leading to more citizen demands for democracy. When these happen in countries that are already high-functioning, there is a a hope for democracy taking hold.

Ethnography of corruption: the case of Kosovo

This report includes the findings obtained through a survey, interviews with citizens, NGO and think-tank workers, representatives of public institutions, as well as observations at public workshops and roundtable discussions. In many ways it may reproduce the very techniques of knowledge productions it suggests must be viewed more critically. However, conducting and participating in similar survey projects is an important entry for an anthropologist. The limited ethnographic study conducted here has served to develop a background report, attached to this research report, which makes a particular argument: the need to account for activism and civil engagement against corruption and understand the terms based on which such mobilization occurs. For this purpose a desk review was conducted, one focus group was held with anti- corruption activists, and participant-observation was carried out in a citizens group that organized around claims of corruption in the public Kosovo Electric Company. As was noted in the ANTICORRP project document “a striking tendency of the literature on corruption has been the neglecting of anti-corruption movements”.  Our proposal is that we must take advantage of some very interesting and important ways in which public space and activist networks are linked together in Kosovo in protesting corruption. Current ethnographic research confirms that this approach will give us insight that is often lacking in other analyses, and give an important entry-point to discern for changes in social order and values, particularly definitions of morality and legality within the space of politics and economy.

Comparative country reports on institutional performance Countries: Bosnia, Kosovo, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Tanzania, Turkey.

The report draws on ethnographic research undertaken in 8 countries object of investigation by the WP partners, namely: Italy, Hungary, Bosnia, Russia, Turkey, Kosovo, Tanzania and Mexico. In addition, an additional chapter (Annex 2) will render the case of Japan which will serve as a contrast case on which to assess ideas and practices of governance and institutional performance through an anthropological perspective. The report includes data gathered through a questionnaire survey undertaken, with minor differences, in all the eight countries included in WP4. The data analyzed comparatively refer to three main fields: perceived and experienced performance of local institutions, local problem and resolution ideas, socio- cultural norms and values. We have identified, following the anthropological literature, a number of cultural issues that are in relation with corruption, or with local citizens’ experiences of the functioning of public institutions in their countries. This first deliverable constitutes an attempt to draw some preliminary conclusions on the interaction between socio- cultural features and governance (both as experienced and perceived) which will be further and ethnographically explored in the final deliverable of this Working Package.

ERCAS Hosts Berlin ECFR Scorecard Launch

ERCAS and the Hertie School of Governance hosted the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) for the Berlin launch of the 2014 edition of their annual European foreign policy scorecard. ERCAS Director Professor Alina Mungiu-Pippidi introduced the event by discussing inadequate European maneuvering vis-à-vis Ukraine.

Professor Mungiu-Pippidi evoked the work of ERCAS with Ukrainian civil society coalition CHESNO and the recurrent question on the lips of young anti-corruption activists there: how many Orange revolutions does it take to get to the EU? “We have to consider what we can offer people who buy into the European normative discourse,” she said. “Nothing is more dangerous than to give the go ahead to people when you know there is no cavalry to back them up, and real politik will decide in the end. You can have one Orange revolution per week then and it’s still insufficient.”

The scorecard grades European foreign policy performance in 66 different areas: relations with the US, China, Russia, Wider Europe, Middle East/North Africa, as well as European performance in crisis management and multilateral institutions. Individual countries are also singled out as “leaders” or “slackers” depending on whether or not they help or hinder Europe’s overall interests. One impetus for starting the scorecard was to prompt a wider discussion about European foreign policy, beyond usual policy circles, and to track progress after the Lisbon treaty, however, as editorial director Hans Kundani noted, the “leaders” and “slackers” section provokes more debate than the rest of the scorecard.

On balance how effective was European foreign policy in 2013? ECFR gives Europe a B- average for relations with most regions, except Russia and claims “Foreign policy is back on the agenda.”  ECFR highlighted foreign policy successes last year in Iran and Kosovo as well as relative failures in Syria and worsening relations with Russia, and ranked France and the UK amongst the “leaders” and Germany and Greece amongst the “slackers.”

Much of the discussion in Berlin focused on Germany’s foreign policy role in the Ukraine and why the country found itself this year atop the list of “slackers”. The scorecard noted the federal elections last year as well as the fact that Germany undermined European attempts to reduce dependence on Russian oil as key reasons why it failed to impress this year.

To read more about the ECFR scorecard or do download a copy, please click here: http://www.ecfr.eu/scorecard/2014

A Diagnosis of Corruption in Kosovo

How corrupt is Kosovo? What type of corruption? How did it evolve during the years? Was it a period when it was more corrupt and what happened to change that? How strong is the civil society in this country? What is its reputation? Are notable anticorruption projects known without research? Are there any anticorruption heroes? What are they? Who are they? This report will present the answers to all these questions and more.

A Diagnosis of Corruption in Kosovo

How corrupt is Kosovo? What type of corruption? How did it evolve during the years? Was it a period when it was more corrupt and what happened to change that? How strong is the civil society in this country? What is its reputation? Are notable anticorruption projects known without research? Are there any anticorruption heroes? What are they? Who are they? This report will present the answers to all these questions and more.

Televised Municipal Debates

To support the democratic process and accountability in office, IASGAP performed all necessary research for municipal public debates between political parties one year after the elections to review promises made during the election campaign versus actual initiatives undertaken by winning candidates to fulfill these promises.

Monitoring of Public Services in Kosovo

BIRN seeks support to monitor the performance of public institutions in all the regions of Kosovo. Specifically, BIRN seeks support for the monitoring of courts, health and education structures in seven biggest municipalities of Kosovo and the regions surrounding them. Through monitoring these three most criticized public sectors in Kosovo, BIRN will hold public officials in charge for the well-functioning public services accountable, with a particular focus in courts and rule of law. By collecting the quantitative and qualitative data through municipal monitors in the sphere of rule of law, education and health BIRN will advocate for democratic reforms and contribute to breaking down the barriers for a European integration.

‘Civic Society Anti-Corruption Response’, Croatia and Kosovo (2008)

The project implemented by SAR together with PSD Croatia and COHU Kosovo aimed to strengthen the ability of partner organizations to implement anti-corruption advocacy projects. The program monitored the entire process, from policy-making to research to advocacy.

Croatia

  • Report on conflicts of interest, distributed electronically to all stakeholders
  • Hold an international conference in May 2008, with the participation of all partners, to present the status quo on conflicts of interest, the mechanisms that can be used to disclose them and civil society involvement in projects that would increase civil servants’ responsibility
  • Advocacy activities regarding the campaing entitled “Yes for Parliament with Clean Hands”, implemented by BURA before the parliamentary elections. The campaign was shaped after the Coalition for a Clean Parliament
  • Activities for consolidating the BURA NGO network, coordinated by PSD – meetings, public events, discussions

Kosovo

  • Report regarding conflicts of interest, the efficiency of statal instruments against corruption (including research on two conflicts of interest programs  and assets statements), distributed electronically to all the stakeholders
  • International conference in April 2008. The participants list included SAR, COHU and MJAFT. The conference aimed to to present the status quo on conflicts of interest, the mechanisms that can be used to disclose them and civil society involvement in projects that would increase civil servants’ responsibility

Implemented from January 1, 2008 to December 15, 2008