The End of the EU school year in the Western Balkans
November 9, 2010 1 Comment
Today the European Commission released its annual progress report. Throughout the Western Balkans analysts, journalists and government are paging through the reports and interpreting their meaning. Independently of the content of these reports, it confirms the weight of these reports. The reports have increased over the years. Just the analytical report for Montenegro is now some 132 pages long, in 2007 it was less than half the length (48 pages). Of course volume is not everything, but as the reports increase in size they are getting more detailed and are thus able to provide more specific recommendations.
More importantly, the progress reports highlight the potential when the European Commission is communicating directly to the public. Even if the reports are technical and require a careful reading, their wide audience and the weight they carry suggest that more such communications would do the integration process in the region well. At the moment, the EU is perceived to be largely silent for 364 days and just issue its opinion on one day (except large events, such as visa liberalization, or granting candidate status). While it is commendable that the reports are increasing in length and quality, their success suggests that the EU, the Commission in particular, needs to think about ways of communicating not just with the governments of the region, but also the citizens in more regular intervals and thus help to re-energize the accession process which appears to have run out of steam lately.