The Great Debate UK
from Global News Journal:
The European Commission told Croatia this week that its negotiations to join the European Union have reached their "final" stage. Sounds promising, considering how reluctant many EU governments are to admit any new members at a time when the bloc is coping with financial difficulties.
But there was another, more subtle message in the text of the Commission's annual progress report on EU hopefuls. And it read quite differently.
In fact, the EU executive told Croatia it will have to be more convincing than the most recent countries allowed in -- Romania and Bulgaria -- that its democratic reforms are working.
Admitting Romania and Bulgaria, two poor Balkan states, to the EU in 2007 is seen by many EU diplomats as a mistake. Both had to conduct deep-reaching judicial reforms to prove their ability to deal with pervasive corruption to qualify for entry. Because the last-minute reforms had shown little effect by the time the countries were admitted, Brussels introduced a "monitoring" mechanism to check up on judicial progress.
- Ahmad Shah is a Afghan social entrepreneur and human rights activist living in London. He is currently studying MSc in International Business Economics at the University of Westminster. The opinions expressed are his own. -
An oft-heard refrain holds that Afghanistan is a “graveyard of empires” where corruption and violence are endemic; a land that never had a strong central government, and cannot be democratised. While perhaps flattering to Afghan pride of strength, these half-truths bear little relation to reality.