Eastern Partnership Index 2017: democratic reforms reversed combined with snail’s pace progress
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. Two dimensions of European integration are distinguished in the construction of the Index: Approximation and Linkage.
The latest edition of Eastern Partnership Index shows where the Eastern Partnership countries stand in terms of Approximation to key EU norms and international standards and Linkage between business, civil society, citizens and governments in the EaP and EU countries. While Eastern Partnership countries’ linkage to EU has overall improved during 2017, progress in approximation is slow at best and reversed at worst. The region’s average in Approximation remains factually unchanged at 0.63 on a 1 in Approximation, and modestly rising to 0.58 on a 1 in Linkage, 0.3 points higher than in 2015-16.
The top performing countries remain Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, with Armenia positioning itself higher up this year, although mainly thanks to Moldova and Georgia’s backsliding.
Ukraine is the only country to record an upward trajectory in both indicators, increasing its score in Approximation and Linkage. Azerbaijan and Belarus remain the worst performing countries, although slowly improving, mainly due to improvements in their score in Approximation’s Sustainable development indicator. Moldova emerges as the black sheep of the flock: although it ranks third in Approximation and first – together with Georgia – in Linkage, it has recorded the worst backsliding of all six countries, dropping 0.7 points in Approximation. The country lost progress in the majority of Approximation’s Deep and Sustainable Democracy indicators, especially due to worsening political capture of the judiciary, crackdown on media independence and declining state accountability.
On the other hand, Belarus remained the worst performing of all the six but has recorded the biggest leap forward overall, in particular thanks to progress in the EU integration and convergence and Sustainable Development indicator. The leap forward is offset by a declining score in the Deep and Sustainable Democracy indicator, which ranks Belarus as the worst of the six EaP countries in terms of human rights and protection against torture, state accountability, fight against corruption and public administration.
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