Release of working paper studying state capacity & state capture influence on the implementation of Association Agreements in the EaP

Title: State Capacity, State Capture and their Effects on the Implementation of Association Agreements in the Eastern Neighbourhood

Authors: Laure Delcour, Antoaneta Dimitrova, Klaudijus Maniokas, and Kataryna Wolczuk


Abstract:

The Association Agreements signed with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine envisage the creation of independent regulatory bodies in a number of sectors, with a view to creating a level playing field. These bodies, if functioning well, should limit the ability of rent-seeking elites (linked via political-business networks) to use political power to extract rents. This paper examines the relationship between capture of the state by rent-seeking elites (state capture) and capacity building for the implementation of Association Agreements. Empirically, it traces the establishment and functioning of the energy regulatory bodies required by the European Union’s acquis in the three associated countries. We find a differential pattern which corresponds to different levels in state capture, but also to different dynamics over time. While Ukraine has suffered the most from state capture and the effects of transfers of public assets to private wealth have been dramatic, especially in the energy sector, Georgia has not seen such effects. In Moldova, regulatory independence is recently more under pressure than it has been in the past. Overall, while all three countries have set up regulatory bodies as requested by the European Union, in practice the work of the regulator (especially in Moldova and Ukraine) continues to be undermined by political interference, selective application of legislation, and a lack of transparency. Energy regulators thereby remain susceptible to the influence of powerful interests. Therefore, we argue that without fundamental changes in the relationship between dominant elites and the political system, the creation of specific sectoral bodies is insufficient to ensure a level playing field.

EU-STRAT Final Conference

The EU-STRAT Final Conference took place in The Hague on 11-12 April 2019. The conference was the final major event of the three-year Horizon 2020 international research project and provided an opportunity to present the project’s inside-out analysis and strategic assessment of the links between the European Union (EU) and Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. The two-day conference started with an opening keynote speech and continued with six panels presenting findings and discussions on the different topics addressed by EU-STRAT, as well as a final roundtable looking to the future. This report provides a summary of the presentations and discussions that took place during these sessions.

 

The conference opened with a keynote speech by Peter Wagner, Head of the Support Group for Ukraine (SGUA) at the European Commission. Peter Wagner noted that the broad scope of the Association Agreement, while providing ample opportunities for the country, also presented significant challenges to implementing the reforms. In this way, it could be compared to selling the construction kit for a Ferrari to someone who does not have all the tools to build it and the infrastructure to use it, and while there is a neighbour that is doing all it can to prevent it from being built. Despite all these challenges, the EU has promoted major reforms by supporting the efforts of reform-oriented members in the Ukrainian government.

Regarding the necessary profound reform of the public sector, support from the beginning has included the involvement of senior experts from EU member states who have undertaken similar reforms during the transition from communism. The broad EU support includes a budget support programme, which contributes partially to the additional fiscal space the government requires to implement the administrative reforms, including increases in salaries. With newly created and better paid positions to implement reforms, filled via new, transparent recruitment procedures and computer-based testing, a new era in Ukrainian civil service has started, according to Peter Wagner.

The Reform Delivery Office working with the Prime Minister’s Office and Reform Support Teams embedded in Ukrainian ministries are providing the necessary guidance and implementation capacity to the government at the central level. In addition, high-level advice is provided by the Strategic Advisory Group of Support for Ukrainian Reforms. More broadly, 22 regional offices are supporting decentralization working with and helping local authorities in the context of the EU project.

Wagner concluded that reforms in Ukraine might not yet have reached the point of irreversibility – but with sufficient time, continued political will from Ukraine and international support, he believes things will work out. Coordination with international partners, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank is crucial in this process. However, when it comes to public administration reform, the SGUA is very much leading the way and the EU is the most important partner of Ukraine in reform. Peter Wagner proposed that finding innovative approaches where possible in applying some of the existing reform instruments and attracting the best national talents is the key to success for achieving the ambitious objective of substantial and comprehensive change in Ukraine. He further concluded that the EU is ready to stand by its partner countries in their ongoing reform efforts, noting that sustained and effective reform progress is key to the continued success of the EaP.

After the keynote speech, the time has come for discussion panels lasting for the next two days. The conference culminated with a roundtable on the future possibilities for the EU and EaP.



Would you like to learn more?

To find out more about the course of the other discussion panels and the round table, please read our REPORT (PDF).

Доклад EU-STRAT посвящен влиянию программ научного сотрудничества ЕС на страны Восточного партнерства доступен на русском языке!

Рабочий доклад /  Август 2017


Рабочий доклад EU-STRAT № 5 (2017): Влияние программ научного сотрудничества ЕС на страны Восточного партнерства: научный результат и влияние на общество


Авторы: Гонората Мазепус, Димитер Тошков, Татьяна Чулицкая и Инна Ромашевская


Резюме:

Научное сотрудничество между Европейским Союзом (ЕС) и его восточными соседями существенно выросло с начала 2000-ных годов. Это сотрудничество имеет серьезный потенциал влияния не только на секторы науки и инноваций, но и на практики и ценности научного сообщества, научную политику и общество в целом в странах Восточного партнерства (ВП). В данной работе мы ставим целью оценить влияние научного сотрудничества с ЕС, фокусируясь на трех странах Восточного партнерства: Беларуси, Молдове и Украине. Наш анализ состоит из двух частей: во-первых, мы рассматриваем научное влияние и проводим библиометрический анализ, который содержит некоторые важные индикаторы научных результатов в Беларуси, Молдове и Украине в 2000 – 2016 годах; во-вторых, мы анализируем более широкое его влияние на научное сообщество, институты и общество при помощи новых данных, полученных из интервью с экспертами. В разрезе научных результатов мы приходим к выводу, что, хотя ЕС и не трансформировал радикально науку в странах ВП, он, скорее всего, предоставил ей существенную поддержку для выживания. Мы также предоставляем четкое доказательство позитивного влияния сотрудничества с ЕС на участвующие институции (institutions) из стран ВП, и недостаток доказательств для того, чтобы говорить о его воздействии на публичную политику либо о существенном влиянии на общество в целом.

New policy brief on varieties of Limited Access Orders in the Eastern Partnership is out!


Title:Varieties of Limited Access Orders in the Eastern Partnership countries: Implications for EU engagement

Authors: Julia Langbein and Esther Ademmer

May 2019


Resume:

Ten years ago, the Eastern Partnership (EaP) was launched as the Eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy. It aims at promoting political and economic reforms that would bring the six EaP countries, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, closer to EU norms and standards. As of today, developments in the EaP countries reveal mixed trends: some countries, such as Armenia and Ukraine, have indeed witnessed instances of political and economic reform resulting in increased competition in both spheres and which could eventually pave the way towards democracy and prosperity. Notwithstanding, all six countries continue to operate as hybrid regimes combining elements of democracy and autocracy, albeit to different degrees. Moreover, in all EaP countries, sustainable and inclusive economic growth is hampered by clientelistic rent-seeking elites who restrict economic competition and the emergence of market-enhancing institutions.


Our research project EU-STRAT set out to examine what room for action there is for the EU to promote political and economic opening in the six EaP countries and what strategies could be (in)effective to achieve this goal. In so doing, we placed the analysis of domestic conditions at the centre of our analysis. EU-STRAT is premised on the idea that deep knowledge of the dynamics of social orders, with specific attention to differences in how dominant elites restrict access to political and economic resources, is fundamental to make an informed assessment of whether and how the EU can help to bring about political and economic opening in the various EaP countries.


To this end, EU-STRAT broadly understands the six EaP countries as Limited Access Orders (LAOs) where the ruling elite restricts access to economic and political resources for private gains. This is in contrast to Open Access Orders (OAOs) based on economic and political competition. EU-STRAT’s research shows that the six EaP countries vary in how incumbents undermine a level playing field by restricting or opening access to political and economic resources. Some allow for relatively balanced forms of access to political and economic resources, while in others, this access is unbalanced, allowing either for more access to political resources than to economic resources or posing fewer limits on accessing economic resources than on political ones. This research has also shown that the various types of LAOs are associated with distinct operating logics underlying hybrid (in)stability that helped us form expectations about what kind of change is relevant for moving them towards more openness or closure. In this policy brief, we recap these insights and combine them with further insights from research under EU-STRAT in order to derive specific policy recommendations for the EU’s current engagement with various EaP countries.

EU-STRAT at 10th Anniversary Eastern Partnership conference in Brussels

EU-STRAT colleagues from the Centre for Eastern Studies (Warsaw), School of Young Managers in Public Administration (Minsk), Freie Universität Berlin, IDIS Viitorul (Chișinău), and the University of Birmingham gathered in Brussels on Tuesday for the 10th Anniversary Eastern Partnership conference, organized by the European Commission. Discussions centred on achievements and challenges in delivering concrete results to citizens as well as looking forward at the future of the Eastern Partnership.

Рабочий доклад EU-STRAT № 9 теперь на русском языке!

Рабочий доклад / Апрель 2018

Это исследование направлено на изучение того, какие факторы могут повлиять на предпочтения граждан относительно более тесного сотрудничества с ЕС или Россией в трех странах, которые являются восточными соседями стран Европейского Союза: Беларуси, Молдове и Украине.


Рабочий доклад EU-STRAT № 9 (2018): Какого рода послания могут усилить поддержку гражданами более тесного сотрудничества с Европейским Союзом?


Авторы: Димитер Тошков, Гонората Мазепус и Антоанета Димитрова


Резюме:

Это исследование направлено на изучение того, какие факторы могут повлиять на предпочтения граждан относительно более тесного сотрудничества с ЕС или Россией в трех странах, которые являются восточными соседями стран Европейского Союза: Беларуси, Молдове и Украине. Жители этих трех стран являются адресатами конкурирующих нарративов и политических установок о целях и результатах более тесного сотрудничества, источником которых являются ЕС и Россия. Вначале мы разовьём теоретические идеи об их возможном влиянии на общественные установки по поводу международного сотрудничества. Затем мы эмпирически исследуем эти идеи, используя опросный эксперимент, в котором шесть разных фреймов относительно международного сотрудничества закреплены в шести коротких описаниях («виньетках»). В них привлекается внимание к таким темам, как экономика, безопасность, ценности и идентичность, которые были разработаны на основании предыдущих исследований факторов, влияющих на международное сотрудничество. Этот эксперимент был реализован среди разнообразной и достаточно большой выборки граждан в трёх странах. Наш главный вывод заключается в том, что тематически нейтральные рамки международного сотрудничества обладают лишь очень ограниченным потенциалом прямого влияния на общественную поддержку сотрудничества с ЕС. В то же время, они в большей степени способны влиять на представления людей о результатах сотрудничества с тем или партнёром в том, что касается желаемых результатов, таких, как экономические преимущества, безопасность или хорошее управление. Эти представления позволяют с большой точностью предсказать индивидуальные предпочтения в выборе партнеров для международного сотрудничества. Дополняя результаты экспериментального исследования, мы также представляем анализ взаимоотношений между предпочитаемым медиа-источником новостных сообщений у участников эксперимента, и их предпочтениями в выборе партнера для международного сотрудничества. Далее, мы исследуем корреляты поддержки сотрудничества с ЕС с акцентом на потенциальную важность использования СМИ. Мы обнаружили, что среди лиц, использующих различные источники для получения новостей, которым они доверяют, не наблюдается значимых различий в уровне поддержки ЕС, исключая, возможно, Беларусь.

EU-STRAT Final Conference starts this Thursday! (11-12 April 2019).

We would like to kindly invite you once again the EU-STRAT Final Conference which will be held on the premises of Leiden University in the Wijnhaven Building, Turfmarkt 99 2511 DP, in The Hague on 11-12 April 2019.


During the event we will present to you the most recent findings of EU-STRAT researchers on interdependencies between EU, Russia and the countries of the region, the implementation of Association agreements and scenarios for the future economic and political developments in the region.


Please click here to download the programme of the event!

There is no pre-registration required!

See you in Hague!


Policy brief on scientific cooperation in the Eastern neighbourhood is out!


Title: Scientific cooperation in the Eastern neighbourhood
Authors: Dimiter Toshkov, Honorata Mazepus, Ina Ramasheuskaya, Tatsiana Chulitskaya and Natallia Rabava
Release date: April 2019


Under the framework of the EU-STRAT project, we set out to take stock of the extent of participation of the EaP countries, with a focus on Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine, in the scientific programmes of the EU. We also sought to evaluate the scientific and broader societal and policy impact of scientific cooperation with the EU on these countries. In this policy brief, we summarize the results of our research and offer policy recommendations that can further enhance the broader impact of the scientific cooperation programmes with the EU.


Release of policy brief dedicated to reforms in energy, transport and environment


Title: Making Association Work: Achievements in and obstacles to reforms in energy, transport and environment
Authors: Laure Delcour and Klaudijus Maniokas
Release date: March 2019


The Association Agreements (AA) concluded between the EU and the three Eastern Partnership countries — namely Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia — are amongst the most comprehensive and detailed agreements the EU has concluded with any third country. Crucially, they are very ambitious in terms of law harmonization. The three associated countries have committed themselves to adopting a substantial part of the EU’s rules – the so-called acquis communautaire.

However, the scope and depth of reforms required from the associated countries is at odds with their current level of socio-economic development. While the EU expects the AA to serve as a blueprint for the modernization of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, the relevance of its acquis to their needs is to a large extent questionable.

This policy brief discusses the key issues faced by the partner countries in conducting domestic change (defined here as transposition and implementation of EU rules) in response to the AAs in the energy, environment and transport sectors. With the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTAs) and visa liberalization, the EU offers clear rewards in exchange for massive reforms (in the form of easier market access and people mobility, respectively). In contrast to trade and mobility, such tangible rewards are largely absent in the energy, transport and environment sectors. Therefore, we ask whether the EU’s promise of modernization through the acquis has proven effective to entice the three associated countries into wide-ranging policy change in these sectors.


New policy brief evaluating the EU’s Assistance to Ukraine


Title: Fit for Purpose? Evaluating the EU’s Assistance to Ukraine
Authors: Kataryna Wolczuk and Darius Zeruolis
Release date: March 2019


Ukraine opted for closer economic and political ties with the European Union (EU) when it signed an Association Agreement (AA) in 2014. The agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), is a bilateral agreement that regulates relations between the EU and Ukraine; it also contains a free-trade area. The agreement covers a large swathe of the EU acquis – the accumulated body of acts and court decisions that constitute EU law. As well as removing (or lowering) tariffs and quotas, the AA-DCFTA will lead to the alignment of Ukraine’s regulatory frameworks with those of the EU.2 This process of ‘legal approximation’, whereby EU rules are incorporated into national laws and institutions are created or reformed to administer those rules, is often viewed as a technocratic, ‘low-politics’ process. However, it does require strong functioning institutions to enact a plethora of commitments, something that Ukraine has yet to develop. As it is, the AA commitments exceed Ukraine’s capacity to implement them. In recognition of this, the EU has stepped up its assistance to Ukraine since 2014. This paper will provide an overview of the support provided by the EU since 2014 with a view to assessing its effectiveness.