Eastern Partnership Index
The Eastern Partnership Index charts the progress made by the six Eastern Partnership countries towards sustainable democratic development and European integration. The Index measures steps taken on the path towards good governance, including the observance and protection of democracy and human rights, sustainable development, and integration with the European Union. The Index is designed to chart progress and reverses in reforms, but also to generate recommendations to guide countries along the reform process and to signal concerns when progress is flagging or even reversed. The Index is also intended to serve as an important monitoring tool for policymakers, independent researchers, think-tanks and civil society actors.
Charting the Path towards European Integration and Sustainable Democratic Development
The Eastern Partnership Index is a set of individual and composite indicators which measure the extent to which the six Eastern European neighbour countries of the European Union have established sustainable democratic institutions and practices, and the level of their integration with the EU. “Integration” is conceived here as a core and multi-dimensional concept that consists of converging norms, growing economic exchange, deeper transnational networks linking up societies, and more frequent contacts between people.
This broad notion of integration implies that EU membership or association may be aims, stages or final states of the integration process. However, it is not limited to a normative approach, or a measure of harmonisation with EU norms and standards, but also reflects actual societal, economic and political change. The levels of contractual relations between the Eastern Partnership (EaP) states and the EU are viewed as elements of a much broader process that is, as a whole, not driven or controlled solely by governments and intergovernmental negotiations.
Rather, European integration is seen as a non-hierarchical, networked process where citizens, civic associations and business organisations play important roles. The interplay of these actors has been crucial for the historical development of the EU itself, as it induced and supported national political elites to take legal and institutional steps towards closer integration. Drawing on this experience, the Index is built on the premise that the ties between societies, peoples and economies form dimensions of European integration that are at least as important as the policy agendas of national governments and European Commission officials.
It is further assumed that transnational linkages contribute to the emergence and spread of common European and international norms which, in turn, facilitate closer linkages with the EU. For example, increasing trade is likely to strengthen domestic companies that benefit from foreign investment and are likely to become more aware of the importance of courts that protect investors’ rights. A judicial system based on fair procedures and professionalism will then contribute to attracting more foreign investors.
An analogous reinforcing dynamic derives from a commitment to international norms and universal values. By incorporating democratic values, the protection of human rights and the rule of law in their constitutions, EaP states have adopted universal norms that have formed the basis of co-operation and integration among West European states since the end of the Second World War.
Further absorption of the core principles of the EU, laid down as a threshold for membership (Copenhagen criteria), gives a further indication of alignment with the EU member states and the capacity for the EaP countries to transform their economies and societies. The more these norms are implemented and respected in EaP states, facilitating sustainable democratic development, the more co-operation with the EU will ensue because these states and the EU will increasingly recognise each other as partners sharing common norms and underlying values.
Furthermore, harmonisation with the norms of sustainable democratic development stretches beyond the European integration agenda. Just as observance of the rule of law, and its application in a non-arbitrary fashion, and the existence of freedom of expression and a competitive party political system, are measured in line with international norms and good practice, so the protection and observance of human rights is a universal norm.
Just as the elements of “deep and sustainable democracy” are set out in the index, so are measures of sustainable development, including attainment of the UN sustainable development goals. Sustainable development in terms of key indicators such as health, poverty, and education, as well as environmental protection, are therefore given a central place in the Index, given their relevance to social and economic development and the fostering of a sustainable democratic society.
This fundamental idea of sustainable democratic development leading towards European integration and its driving forces is reflected in the conceptual design of the Eastern Partnership Index (see The Two Dimensions of the Index, pages 16-17).
Eastern Partnership Index is produced with the financial support of the European Union. It’s content is the sole responsibility of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) and does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.