Connectivity Agenda and Structural Weaknesses of EU Candidate Countries

2020

Connectivity Agenda and Structural Weaknesses of EU Candidate Countries

Report

In the first part  of this report we analyze the financing of connectivity infrastructure projects, the capacity of the South East Europe Six (SEE6) administration to design, implement and operate those projects, and finally the way those very large projects impact the SEE6’s own institutional framework. This part corresponds to the traditional yearly publication of the Berlin Process Series that CDI produces since 2016.

In the second part we have included the redacted versions of presentations of keynote speakers, policy-makers and other strategic stakeholders present in Tirana Connectivity Forum 2019 (TCF19). This part provides a much-needed vantage point on the practical implications of the analysis and concepts we develop. We have complemented these presentations with the main take-away points from the TCF19, as well as with a more detailed section on the conclusions of each of the five panels.

Moreover this publication is complemented by an in-depth study of the most recent and biggest energy infrastructure project that connects a SEE6 country with EU: the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, otherwise known as TAP. This was initially conceived as a stand-alone document. But during our research we decided to use it as a “case study” for the Connectivity Agenda in order to illustrate the theoretical findings with practical real-life situations.

This edition sets out to provide concrete and actionable proposals on the way that large connectivity infrastructure projects address the SEE6’s “structural weaknesses” and contribute to their convergence with the EU. From this angle we focus on good governance and on political will.

The latest online publications of the Western Balkans Investment Framework have provided an excellent opportunity for us to look at the inner workings of the blending facility. Unfortunately we could not consult the 2020 Connectivity Networks Gap Analysis Update that came out while our report was being published.

Methodology-wise, we double down on the concept of multi-dimensional connectivity as defined by the World Bank, and develop it further to also include the institutional linkages amongst SEE6 and EU structures and their cooperation dynamics.

Connectivity in the SEE6 is seen through the Enlargement optic and in function of the EU Accession Negotiations. Wherever possible we have used comparable non-EU connectivity initiatives and models that are under way in the SEE6.

The context-based approach gives to this publication its original Balkans flavor. We have chosen to deal with the impact of Covid19 pandemics on connectivity in the forthcoming 2021 Tirana Connectivity Form edition.

Lastly, we have decided to replace the term Western Balkans Six with the much less charged South East European Six or SEE6.

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