On 3rd October 2012, the European Commission and European External Action Service published their joint communication on supporting sustainable change in transition societies. The communication aimed to provide an overview of European measures that currently provide support and put forward suggestions of how these could be improved.
The European Union has a large variety of tools available to support change in countries outside its borders. The policies covered include Development Cooperation, the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement policy and the communication makes consistent reference to the importance of the experience of countries that went through transition processes in the recent past to become members of the EU.
Of the improvements that are suggested to this approach in the future, the main points are for the EU to mobilise all the instruments it has at its disposal in a comprehensive, targeted and long-term response, respecting partner countries’ needs and root causes for a desire for societal change; for the EU to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law in a way that contributes to sustainable reform and regional integration; and for the EU to act in a way that enhances partner countries’ ownership of the reform process and does not impose specific models of experience exchange.
CONCORD’s working group on Enlargement, Pre-Accession and Neighbourhood (EPAN) has done a significant amount of work on issues surrounding transition, most recently related to the European Transition Compendium (see www.eutransition.eu). Although TRIALOG stopped convening this working group in September, we look forward to seeing the group’s work on this important issue continue.
Download the EC/EEAS communication here (pdf).
Information provided by Rebecca Steel-Jasińska, TRIALOG