Instead of insisting on punishment, the EU and member states should invest in joint efforts to make progress in the building the rule of law in the Western Balkans and provide a clear strategy of its inclusion in the EU policies. In this sense, a certain time frame with clear priorities and shifts from one phase to another, if those priorities are met, is more than needed. It is not about the date or year of accession, but about clear steps: what if the country is really making progress. In principle, a clear task and an answer to it also give a basis for a stronger assessment of whether it has been fulfilled or not. In other words, this should be an important matter in the application of the new EU methodology – linking specific priorities with the announced incentives and sanctions. Our brief offers some suggestions in this direction.
This brief was supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Serbia and Montenegro within the project “Strengthening the Rule of Law in the Western Balkans: Old Tools for New Rules” implemented by Politikon Network in cooperation with Centre for Contemporary Politics. All views expressed in this policy brief are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Serbia and Montenegro.