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The year 2001 saw two key issues becoming closely related as regards Bulgaria's foreign policy agenda - stabilization and reconstruction in the Balkans and integration into the European Union. Both pose certain challenges for Bulgaria and their combined influence has been compounding the prioritization of the respective domestic reforms.

Recognizing this challenge, CSD's European Program focused on both regional cooperation and European integration as related problematic areas. As in previous years, a blend of networking and policy analysis was employed by the Program.

I. Facilitating Dialogue

On March 5, 2001 the European Program organized jointly with the Embassy of Japan in Bulgaria a breakfast meeting ,,The Role of Japan for the Stability in Southeast Europe". Guest speaker at the event was Dr. Takahiro Shinyo, Deputy Director-General of the European Affairs Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. The event was attended by representatives of Bulgarian official institutions, of the business community and the diplomatic corps in Sofia, of international organizations, as well as scholars, journalists and NGO representatives.

Dr. Shinyo outlined the substantial contribution of Japan to the Stability Pact for South-East Europe. The speaker presented in brief the Official Development Assistance of Japan to all countries in the region and stressed the continuous commitment of his country to further contribute to the international efforts for the reconstruction and development of SEE as the best guarantee for stability in this part of Europe.

On March 30, 2001 the European Program organized jointly with the Embassy of Japan in Bulgaria a breakfast meeting " Japan's Strategy towards the European Union and its Enlargement". Guest speaker at the event was Ambassador Takayuki Kimura, Head of the Mission of Japan to the European Union. The event was attended by representatives of the Government, the business, political parties, international financial institutions, scholars, journalists and NGO representatives.

Ambassador Kimura outlined the cooperation between Japan and the European Union in a number of areas and highlighted the priority areas of common interest. Ambassador Kimura presented the three major pillars of cooperation between Japan and the EU:
1) support for peace and stability on the continent; 2) benefiting from development of information technology and globalization and 3) respecting diversity between cultures and nations. Good cooperation has also been developed within the World Trade Organization, and other multilateral fora.

Notably, developments in Southeast Europe and enlargement figure prominently among issues of joint interest. The significance, which Japan attributes to EU enlargement, is warranted primarily by the fact that this process would strengthen the stability in Europe as a whole. Although some Japanese companies face difficulties in export of goods due to the unique policy decision making in EU, Japan will further enhance its contacts with the candidates for accession to the EU as much as they are getting closer to the membership. In addition to the general stabilization impact of enlargement, it would also increase the members of an international community with shared values, which, in turn, would increase the mutually beneficial exchanges.

A 22-member delegation from the Paasikivi Society, a respected foreign policy think tank in Finland, visited the Center for the Study of Democracy on May 9,2001. A presentation on the activities of Coalition 2000 and the Southeast European Legal Development Initiative (SELDI) was made for the group of former members of parliament, judges and scientists, interested in the European Union policy and the process of Integration in the East European countries. The Regional Corruption Monitoring System of SELDI and the analysis of the link between corruption and trafficking in Southeast Europe were discussed.

On September 28, 2001 the Center for the Study of Democracy hosted a meeting "Debate on the Future of Europe after Nice". At the meeting Prof. Edward Best met with representatives of the Bulgarian public administration. Prof. Best delivered a lecture and introduced the participants to the European institutions and issues related to the EU integration process. Among the issues discussed were the Nice Treaty, the EU Institutional Reform, the Agenda after the Nice Treaty and the fundamental challenges the EU will be facing in the future. One of the leading European experts in the field of EU research, Professor Edward Best is teaching in the European Institute of Public Administration in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The meeting was held within the framework of cooperation between the CSD and the Institute of Public Administration and European Integration and was attended by senior state administration officials, engaged in Bulgaria's EU accession process.

II. Policy Studies

CSD was one of the active participants in the network on European integration (www.europeanintegration.net) organized by the Bertelsmann Foundation and the World Bank with the goal of actively involving public policy institutes and research centers in the preparation of Central and East European countries for accession to the EU. In 2001 the network's activities focused on analysis of the challenges which both the accession countries and the current member states will face as a result of the enlargement as well as recommendations for policy changes which will help tackle the obstacles on the way to a unified Europe.

The European Program, in collaboration with the Economic Program experts, took part in the network workshop "National versus European Identities in the EU Enlargement: Views from Central and Eastern Europe", organized together with the Institute of International Relations, Prague and held on December 6-8, 2000 in Caste Stirin, the Czech Republic. The conference ,,European Integration: Economic and Security Implications for Central and Eastern Europe" was held in Vilnius on May 20-22, 2001 co-organized with the Lithuanian Free Market Institute, the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius University and the Swedish embassy in Vilnius. CSD facilitated the involvement of Mr. Slavcho Neikov, member of the State Energy Regulation Commission and Ms. Zhivka Staneva, advisor at the Council of Ministers who addressed the participants in the event with presentations respectively on the impact of the single market membership on energy policy and the impact of single market membership on the external economic relations of acceding countries. The conference entitled "Labor, Employment and Social Policies in the EU Enlargement Process: Changing Perspectives and Policy Options", co-organized with the European Forum, Alpbach, the Institute for Public Affairs and the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Development, Vienna took place on June 28-30, 2001 in Baden, Austria addressing the concerns of current member states with regard to the adverse consequences which the EU enlargement may have in the social sphere. CSD was instrumental in the participation of Mr. Andrei Lalov of the National Employment Agency, Mr. Todor Krastev of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and Ms. Elena lankova of Cornell University who were the Bulgarian experts at the discussions.

CSD was one of the members which not only participated in the thematic conferences and workshops but also helped build the institutional capacity of the network. At the two network meetings in 2001 experts of the Center contributed on such issues as dissemination of publications and materials, use of the internet for greater impact, sub-regional cooperation between individual network members and thematic priorities for the future. In 2002, CSD will be working on the organization of a round table on the scope and size of the informal economy in the EU accession countries to be held in Sofia in 2002 and include not only representatives from network member institutions but also leading experts from EU members states.

For a third year now, the CSD has been the Executive Secretariat of the Southeast European Legal Development Initiative (SELDI). In this capacity, in 2001 CSD was the main implementation agency for the anti-corruption component of SELDL carried out under the title Coalition Building and Monitoring for Anti-Corruption in Southeast Europe. The overall objective of the SELDI anti-corruption project is to introduce a region-wide institutional framework for public-private cooperation in countering corruption in the countries of Southeast Europe. The main premise of the project approach is that the institutionalization of corruption in the SEE countries cannot be explained by national circumstances alone.

This bold initiative deserves the broad support from all of us who seek to bring the countries and societies of Southeastern Europe into Euro and Euro-Atlantic institutions at the earliest possibly date.

Ambassador Donald Kursh,
Principal Deputy Special Coordinator, Stability Pact for Southeast Europe at the international conference Beyond Anti-Corruption Rhetoric: Coalition Building and Monitoring Impact, held in March 2001 in Sofia

The results of the first phase of the project, which was completed in 2001 include three unique outputs:
1. The introduction of a Regional Corruption Monitoring System (RCMS) in Southeast Europe - the first ever region-wide corruption diagnostics were carried out in Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, and Yugoslavia on the basis of a uniform methodology.

The RCMS has several specific characteristics that make it unique. First, because the RCMS is producing new information; second, because it is based on a uniform methodology that ensures comparability of results between countries and over time; third, because it is based on the experience of citizens from each country with corruption which gives the opportunity to explore the "insider" view on corrupt practices.

The main goal of the comparative analysis contained in the Regional Corruption Monitoring Report is to show the public significance of the problem of corruption and the extent to which corruption has penetrated into the various sections of these societies. The RCMS is a unique effort which has not been undertaken in the region before as it measures both public attitudes as well as the actual spread of corruption in the countries. It allows a comparison of the public sectors most affected by corruption thus providing objective data for the design of regional anti-corruption policy instruments. Bulgarian and international media covered the first publication of the Regional Corruption Monitoring Report.

2. Training for watchdog capacity for a critical number of civil society organizations in SEE.

The project has the combined objective of enhancing public and private coalition-building in the SEE countries and develop a regional anti-corruption watchdog and diagnostic facility. To this end, a number of non-governmental organizations were trained in phase one in the application of the RCMS for the purpose of watchdog as well as an instrument for reform pressure. This has created a precondition for the backbone of a watchdog network in the region and will be complemented in phase two with training on assessing the institutional aspects of corruption.

3. Initial information gathering for the purpose of an assessment of the institutional environment as regards public administration, the judiciary, economy, civil society and media and international cooperation against corruption in all seven target countries.

A background document on corruption, containing an overview and initial outline of the main corruption problems and risks in the seven target countries was developed by SEE experts. Unlike other corruption assessment efforts in the region, which evaluate individual countries, the document summarizes corruption-related information along several key institutional and legal structures. The emerging picture indicates predictably similar problems facing a number of public agencies, notably law enforcement and the judiciary. Thus the background document is the first truly regional look at corruption in SEE.

The background document on corruption in SEE will be the essential resource reference for the experts working on the Regional Corruption Monitoring Report in phase two which is to be implemented in 2002.

A particular attention was devoted in 2001 to the institution building of the Initiative. Among these efforts, increasing the role of the International Steering Board of SELDI, consisting of prominent public figures and NGO leaders from the SELDI countries and EU member states and the US and representatives of international organizations, which is responsible for establishing SELDI's strategy and activities, was emphasized. Ambassador Anders Thunborg, former Minister of Defense of Sweden, visited Bulgaria from October 13 to 19, 2001 by invitation of the Center for the Study of Democracy, as a member to the International Steering Board of the Southeast European Legal Development Initiative.

The agenda of Ambassador Thunborg's visit included meetings with senior government officials, political leaders, and^ diplomats. During his stay Ambassador Thunborg delivered a lecture on the Role of NATO and the situation in the Balkans.

 
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