European Politics and Institutions

Balkans Forum


How are the Balkan countries preparing their policymaking systems for membership?

14 December 2018
Milena Lazarević (Programme Director, CEP Belgrade) and Corina Stratulat (Head of European Politics and Institutions programme and Senior Policy Analyst)



High-quality standards in the development and coordination of public policy are always relevant in a domestic context but even more so in the framework of EU accession. Under the public administration reform (PAR) pillar of the European Union’s conditionality for the Balkans, the EU puts a strong emphasis on the improvement of the aspirants’ policy development and coordination practices.

Independent monitoring suggests that the region’s governments currently display a low level of preparedness in the sphere of policymaking and coordination. Out of the broad PAR portfolio within the EU accession process, the area of policy development and coordination stands out as one of the weakest points.

To help improve the situation, the European Commission should:

  1. ‘mainstream’ its policymaking and coordination requirements across the negotiating chapters and the sectoral policies in which it supports the work of the region’s governments;
  2. adopt smarter conditionality, which builds on tried and tested approaches, responds to specific circumstances, and links to themes of the negotiating chapters, where the real teeth lie.
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