Policy Memo no. 51, CRPE Coordinators: Dragoș Dinu, Alexandra Toderiţă
As part of the international donor community since 2004, the Visegrad countries sought to find a niche where they can capitalize on their recent transition experience. For obvious reasons (historic, socio-economic, cultural ties), they turned to the Eastern Partnership countries, which had embarked, in various degrees, on the Europe rapprochement path. In 2007, through EU accession, two new donors with similar outlooks and profiles emerged – Romania and Bulgaria, which have been since building up their official development cooperation policy, also turning their sight to the East.
In the “Synergies needed among donors in the East: Georgia, Ukraine and Republic of Moldova as ODA recipients” report (currently only available in English), the Romanian Center for European Polices offers an overview of how each of these six donors has contributed to the development and democratization of the top three “hottest” countries (in terms of European integration) in the Eastern Partnership: Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia.
CRPE believes that direct bilateral support in the form of foreign aid from Eastern donors is essential to the three countries’ future trajectory, in which development is the synonym of democratization, comprehensive approximation of EU rules and standards. Republic of Moldova and Georgia need support for staying on track and withstanding counter-democratic (anti-European) influences, while Ukraine can be supported to get back on the EU accession path.
Moreover, Romania and Bulgaria should tap into the Visegrad states’ more advanced know-how of transition experience sharing and create the synergies necessary for this region to become the key platform for advancing Eastern Partnership issues within the EU and supporting these three top contenders in their Europeanization process.
As the Paris Declaration clearly states, official development aid is effective when it supports a country-owned approach to development, and it is less effective when aid policies and approaches are driven by donors. In two of the three EaP countries, the European accession process has provided the formal framework describing the individual country agenda for the next years: the Association Agreements roadmaps for Moldova and Georgia. Eastern donors’ financing should follow in a synergic manner these conditionalities in the two countries, while support for strengthening democracy and the rule of law should become the number one ODA projects target in Ukraine.
The study is published in the “Enhancing the capacity of Visegrad states, Romania and Bulgaria to act as ODA donors in the Black Sea Region” project, funded by the German Marshall Fund, through the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation.