Tag Archives: monitoring

Corrupted Politicians, Beware! EU is Watching You!

The Commission has proposed a set of measures to address the harm that corruption causes to European societies. The Commission is setting up a new mechanism, the EU Anti-Corruption Report, to monitor and assess Member States’ efforts against corruption and encourage more political engagement. Supported by an expert group and a network of research correspondents, and the necessary EU budget, the Report will be managed by the Commission and published every two years, starting in 2013. It will identify trends and weaknesses that need to be addressed, as well as stimulate peer learning and exchange of best practices.

How effective will the report be? It’s a very good sign that the EU will have a more focused approach towards diagnosing serious corruption in Member states. But it’s far from certain that ample treatment will follow the diagnosis. If we consider the experience with the reports under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism for Bulgaria and Romania, it appears that the Commission reports stir a lot of emotions and produce fewer practical results.

Any effort to independently monitor corruption levels in any Member state should be commended. The Commission should also consider benefiting from the existing monitoring mechanisms set up by Transparency International and OECD.



The EU Retail Market Monitoring Report

The Retail Market Monitoring Report is out now, published by the Commission. The report considers all economic, social, environmental and consumer impacts of the retail sector in the European Union by accounting for the linkages that the retail sector has with its upstream and downstream markets.

The main findings:

  • Malfunctioning of commercial property markets;
  • Limited take-off of e-commerce;
  • Insufficient development of commercial communications and independent services providing information on prices and quality;
  • The number of small local grocery shops fell by 3.7% between 2004 and 2009;
  • Lack of rules or insufficient enforcement addressing unfair commercial practices ;
  • Difficulties in their cross-border use because of varying rules;
  • Negative impact of the informal economy on working conditions;
  • Lack of information to consumers as regards social performance of businesses in the retail sector;
  • Mismatch between the needs of businesses and the skills of employees in the retail sector;
  • High energy consumption;
  • High production of waste;
  • Significant contribution to the volume of traffic and congestion due to transport of goods;
  • Insufficient account taken of environmental costs in the supply;
  • Lack of a common method to evaluate environmental impact of products and services.

Rule of law Monitoring: Bulgaria and Romania

There is a new publication by CEPS: “Safeguarding the Rule of Law in an Enlarged EU: The Cases of Bulgaria and Romania” by Susie Alegre, Ivanka Ivanova and Dana Denis-Smith.

The report has one synthesizing section and two separate sections of findings for Bulgaria and Romania. The Bulgarian part is written by Ivanka Ivanova from the Open Society institute.

The report presents an accurate picture of ongoing efforts to ensure rule of law in both countries. It correctly notes that the ultimate legal instrument in case of systemic breach of rule of law is article 7 TEU when there is a clear threat of a serious breach of the common values of the Union. The authors think that more specific criteria and procedural guidance is needed to make article 7 functional.

A major recommendation in the report is that monitoring of the rule of law in the EU should focus on criminal justice.

In the Bulgarian section there is an understandable omission regarding political parties’ legislation – as the really deplorable amendments in the Elections Act were finalized after the publication of the report.