EMA has the pleasure to share with you the Policy Brief: “EU Conditionality as a transformative power in the case of the Albanian Public Administration”.
This policy brief has been prepared in the frame of the TRAIN Programme 2015
(ThinkTanks Providing Research and Advice through Interaction and Networking), which is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office (Stability Pact for South East Europe) and implemented by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).
‘The future of the Balkans is within the European Union’ , is the main message given during most of the speeches of EU representatives and national politicians in the enlargement countries. This region experienced devastating civil wars fought along ethnic lines after the fall of respective countries’ communist regimes and is now undergoing a transition to consolidated democracy. Therefore, the region was and still remains dependent on EU support to implement EU reforms meeting the political, economic and social conditions introduced by Brussels, which aims to influence by the means of a ‘transfer of given EU rules and their adoption by non – member states’.
The Western Balkan countries are not performing well regarding the implementation of the requested reforms. In Albania, for example, the belated transformation of the country may be caused by different factors, such as the burdens of the communist past, the scarce capacity of central institutions , and the absence of policy entrepreneurs.
The domestic institutions of Albania suffer from democratic illegitimacy and clientelism which lead to the incomplete fulfillment of the Copenhagen Criteria that every country which aspires to EU membership should fulfill. The Copenhagen Criteria comprise the political and economic criteria and the institutional and administrative capacity to implement the acquis .
The experience of the Western Balkans shows that the lack of complete statehood, a politicized and corrupt administration, a clientelist system and the absence of policy entrepreneurs prevents the necessary reforms driven by the transformative power of the EU through the principal of conditionality.
T he reform of the public administration in Albania is crucial in the fulfillment of EU demands. It has been one of the main conditions to obtain candidate status and it is part of the five k y priorities for the opening of accession negotiations with the EU. Public administration reform remains one of the most important EU conditions for Albania , since one of the prime reasons for limited compliance with EU requirements is the limited capacity of the public administration , due to clientelism and corruption . EU conditionality encounters limits in an environment where the actors are not fully committed to reform and where the institutional capacities constrain the effectiveness of the required reforms.
In order to better understand the effectiveness of EU conditionality in the Albanian reform process , we will study the case of the reform of Albanian public administration, in light of the EU integration process of the country. In this regard, the question that arises is whether EU conditionality is working in the case of the Albanian public administration reform. According to Schimmelfenning: ”The dominant logic underpinning EU conditionality is a bargaining strategy of reinforcement by reward, under which the EU provides external incentives for a target government to comply with its conditions”.
The first part of the paper reviews the initiatives undertaken as regards Albanian public administration reform. The second part studies the case of the adoption of the new Civil Service Law, a key factor in this reform. The paper concludes by giving a number of concrete policy recommendations for the actors involved in the Albanian public administration reform