The MAXCAP Working Paper No. 11 “Judicial Independence in the Western Balkans: Is the EU's 'New Approach' Changing Judicial Practices?” by Adam Fagan and Indraneel Sircar has been published. You can download the Working Paper here.
The Working Paper examines the EU's 'new approach' which represents a bold attempt to learn the lessons of previous enlargements and avoid having to initiate a Cooperation and Verification Menachnism after accession. It is shown that the EU has indeed learnt a number of lessons from previous enlargements and has gradually applied these in its dealings with candidate and potential candidate countries of the Western Balkans. However, despite clear evidence of progress in all of the cases studied, the research highlights serious and persistent gaps between European standards for independence and impartiality, and the realities on the ground. Further, the study highlights that the EU needs to be carfeul in its pursuit of independence, professionalism and efficiency, in order to ensure that the reforms and initiatives it pursues in the Western Balkans do not lead to an accountability deficit. Moreover, there is a clear risk that a more powerful judiciary, operating with increased autonomy, will exacerbate rather than reduce the threat of political interference.
It is the objective of the MAXCAP Working Paper Series to disseminate the research results of the research consortium to a wide audience, including the academia as well as the general public. Thus, all Working Papers can be downloaded free of charge from our website.