Strengthening the Rule of Law in South East Europe and the EU: Instruments, challenges and lessons learned

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Strengthening the Rule of Law in South East Europe and the EU: Instruments, challenges and lessons learned

Wednesday, 3 February 2021 - 5:00pm
Zoom webinar
Carlos Closa (European University Institute)
Eli Gateva (Department of Politics and IR, Oxford)
Marko Kmezic (University of Graz)
Kalypso Nicolaidis (European University Institute; St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Othon Anastasakis (SEESOX) and Eli Gateva (DPIR)

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The Eastern enlargement of the European Union (EU) highlighted the significance of strengthening of the rule of law for the advancement of the accession process. All Central and Eastern European countries were encouraged to improve the efficiency of the judiciary and tackle corruption. However, in the cases of Bulgaria and Romania the European Commission identified a number of outstanding issues in these areas and in 2007 both countries became the only EU member states subjected to post-accession monitoring through the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). In 2011 the EU adopted a new approach which firmly placed the rule of law at the heart of the enlargement strategy with the Western Balkans. More recently the weakening of democratic institutions in some EU member states forced the Union to revisit its approach to safeguarding the rule of law inside the EU. In 2020 the Commission published the first EU rule of law reports evaluating the situation in all EU member states.Over the last two decades the EU has developed a broad range of instruments aimed at promoting and safeguarding the rule of law. Nevertheless, there are serious concerns about the deterioration of the rule of law in candidate countries and in EU member states. The aim is the webinar is to discuss the effectiveness of the EU rule of law instruments and policies in comparative perspective and reflect on the key lessons learnt.

Carlos Closa Montero is part-time Professor at the School of Transnational Governance and Professor at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). Before joining the STG, Closa was Director of the European, Transnational and Global Governance research area at the Robert Schuman Centre’s Global Governance Programme. He has also been Deputy Director at the Centre for Political and Constitutional Studies (CEPC) in Madrid, and member of the Venice Commission for Democracy through Law of the Council of Europe. He was formerly a Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Zaragoza (Spain) and lecturer at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He holds a Ph.D. in Politics and a M.A. in European integration and cooperation from the University of Hull (UK). He has been Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) , Visiting Fellow at the Centre for European Studies (Harvard University), Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Bruges), Emile Nöel Fellow at the Jean Monnet Centre (NYU) and Visting Professor at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands). He is an Associated Researcher at the Real Instituto Elcano de Estudios Internacionales y Estratégicos (RIE). As consultant, he has collaborated with the European Commission (DG Justice, Freedom and Security), the UN Programme for Development (UNDP) in Iraq (UNAMI), the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and other organisations.

Eli Gateva joined the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford in July 2020, having previously held academic posts at the University of Manchester, Queen Mary University of London, University of York and University of Nottingham. She was a Visiting Fellow at the LSEE – Research on South Eastern Europe based at the European Institute of the London School of Economics and Political Science (2015-2017). She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her main research interests include European Union politics, EU conditionality, EU Enlargement policy, democracy, East European Politics and anti-corruption policies. She has recently contributed to Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Her monograph European Union Enlargement Conditionality (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) explores the nature and evolution of EU enlargement conditionality. Her current research analyses the impact of post-accession conditionality on the quality of democracy in EU member states.

Marko Kmezić (PhD, University of Graz) is a Lecturer and Senior Researcher at the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, and BiEPAG Blog Editor. He has studied law at the University of Belgrade, and European integrations and regionalism at the University of Graz. From 2006 until 2008 he worked at the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights. He is the author of “EU Rule of Law Promotion: Judiciary Reform in the Western Balkans” (Routledge, 2016), and co-editor of “Stagnation and Drift in the Western Balkans” (Peter Lang, 2013).

Chair: Kalypso Nicolaïdis is Professor at the School of Transnational Governance and Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford. Previously, she was previously Associate Professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She is chair of Southeastern European Studies at Oxford and Council member of the European Council of Foreign Relations. In 2012-2013, she was Emile Noel-Straus Senior Fellow at NYU Law School. In 2008-2010, Professor  Nicolaïdis was a member of the Gonzales reflection group on the future of Europe 2030, set up by the European Council. She also served as advisor on European affairs to George Papandreou in the 90s and early 2000s, the Dutch government in 2004, the UK government, the European Parliament, the European Commission, OECD and UNCTAD. Professor  Nicolaïdis has published widely on international relations, global governance, trade ethics, law and democracy promotion, as well as the internal and external aspects of European integration in numerous journals. Her latest books are ‘Exodus, Reckoning, Sacrifice: Three Meanings of Brexit’ (Unbound, 2019), 'The Greco-German Affair in the Euro Crisis: Mutual Recognition Lost?', (co-authored with Sternberg and Gartzou-Katsouyanni, Palgrave, 2018) and 'Echoes of Empire: Memory, Identity and Colonial Legacies' (edited with Sebe, I.B. Taurus, 2015).