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 STATE OF THE UNION: FINDINGS OF THE EUROPEAN CATCH-UP INDEX 

The new European Catch-Up Index redefines the current notions about the state of the EU, Europe and the economic crisis by analyzing the performance of 35 countries in Economy, Democracy, Governance and Quality of Life


Contact: Marin Lessenski
+359-887510641
mlessenski@osi.bg


SOFIA, 6 JANUARY 2012 – The economic and financial crisis of Europe, as serious as it is, is not the ultimate or even the defining threat to the European project – it is only one of its faces, according to a new report by the Open Society Institute – Sofia .

The report is based on the newly released
Catch-Up Index that measures the performance of 35 countries – the EU member states, the candidate and potential candidate countries across four categories: Economy, Quality of Life, Democracy and Governance. Each category is measured by 47 indicators using standardized scores from 0 to 100 (lowest to highest), allowing for further observations and analysis to be made.

The cracks within Europe are much more diverse and run deeper than the economic crisis suggests. Europe is very much divided along different levels of democracy and good governance, quality of life and economic performance.

These divergences separate the European countries into six distinct clusters of states with similar characteristics. The placement of a European country in a cluster may be fundamentally more important than their membership of “political groups” such as the Eurozone.

“The North–South division is gradually replacing the East–West rift and is signaling that the post-Cold War legacy is all but superseded by new factors. There is a new reality in Europe, but at the same time there are older historic-cultural patterns – that can be traced back as far as the age of empires – that are visible on the new map of the continent drawn from the index findings”, said lead researcher Marin Lessenski.

The current debt crisis in Europe, according to the findings of the report, should not be perceived in economic and financial terms only. The debt ceiling of 60% of GDP, stated in the Maastricht criteria, cannot be a universal measure and the safe debt level ceilings seem to be country specific, defined by the particular debt to governance
ratio of a country. Countries with poorer governance performance may be more exposed to the crisis danger zone even when they have considerably lower debt levels than the Maastricht defined limit.

The assumption that integration will automatically bring about convergence in Europe did not materialize in reality and the report recommends that Europe should pursue convergence policies that deal with the divergence between the countries and not impose centralized “one size fits all” policies, which might bring about further
fragmentation.

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The report “State of the Union: A Big Bang Theory of Europe”  is available for download at
www.eupi.eu and www.TheCatchUpIndex.eu. The special online platform at www.TheCatchUpIndex.eu allows users to view and work interactively with the data of the index.

For press interviews and comment, Marin Lessenski can be reached at
mlessenski@osi.bg or on +359-887510641
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The Catch-Up Index is a product of the European Policies Initiative (EuPI;
www.eupi.eu) of the Open Society Institute – Sofia (www.osi.bg), an independent think tank and advocacy organization, based in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Download links:

Catch-Up Index Report : “State of the Union: A Big Bang Theory of Europe”  

Summary of the Catch-Up Index Report 

Press Release Catch-Up Index 

Online platform: www.TheCatchUpIndex.eu

Articles in the Bulgarian language in Politiki (www.politiki.bg)

 

Projects
In Focus
1 million Bulgarians live in other EU countries. As European citizens, they have the right to vote and to be elected in the European Parliament elections in any other EU country.The “Vote Abroad” campaign is aimed at informing the Bulgarian citizens living abroad or in Bulgaria about the European Parliament elections (22 to 25 May 2014) on when, where and how to vote.
There is more information and updates on the interactive web-site and social media:
http://BulgariaIn.EU
https://www.facebook.com/BulgariaIn.EU
https://twitter.com/BulgariaInEU
Is Europe becoming a less cultural continent? The findings of a new Eurobarometer survey on cultural access and participation – the first on the topic since 2007 – suggest this may be the case.Although there are marked differences between Member States, in general fewer Europeans are engaging in cultural activities, as performers or spectators. The decline in participation has affected all cultural activities except cinema.
Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union at midnight Sunday (1 July), a decade after it started the process and less than 20 years after the end of its war of independence from Yugoslavia. The expansion comes at a difficult time for both the EU and Croatia (Photo: MLKR) Thousands lined the streets of the capital Zagreb to the sound of Beethoven's Ode to Joy and fireworks as the country's leaders accompanied by EU officials celebrated the event. Read it at EUObserver
Civic protests against the appointment of a controversial tycoon as head of Bulgaria’s major security agency started on June 14, 2013. A number of NGOs, OSI-Sofia among them, requested the government to revoke its decision and abide to the lawful procedures. The protests continued in defiance to the oligarchic control in the country, despite desperate measures by the government and the parties that support it.
The Guardian published an article by Ivan Krastev on January 16, 2013 about the alleged threat of Bulgarians and Romanians. Ivan Krastev debunks the myths by using OSI-Sofia study on migration, saying "There is no data suggesting that Bulgarian benefit tourists are coming to flood Britain, nor is there an indication that the Bulgarian government or media are trying to export their social problems by encouraging the poorest groups in Bulgarian society to take the plane to London.”
An article about Bulgaria in the print edition of the Economist quoted a study by OSI-Sofia on public attitudes. The article “In a rough region” from July 7, 2012 edition, with the subtitle “Once Bulgaria hoped to be like Greece; now it just hopes to survive” covers the state of Bulgaria’s economy, politics and society in mid-2012. You can read
the article here
EuPI’s Marin Lessenski was featured in Financial Times Deutchland in an article about the effects of the Greek crisis on the Balkan countries. The article “Osteuropa zittert vor der Drachme” by Hubert Beyerle, published on 01.06.2012 is available here.
The op-ed “Defining threats beyond the eurozone crisis” features the Catch-Up Index on Euractiv "Europe's economic and financial challenges are not the ultimate or even the defining threat to the European project, says Marin Lessenski, author of a new report published by the European Policies Initiative and Open Society Institute in Sofia." You can read the full op-ed in the Euractiv "Opinion" section here
As Bulgaria and Romania are looking to resolving the impasse to their Schengen membership bid in 2011, an EuPI policy brief released in June illuminates the broader context and challenges to Schengen transformation and enlargement. The brief sheds a light on the facts and common (mis)conceptions about Schengen’s accession of the two new EU members. The brief also touches upon the changes in the thinking and policy planning in the EU following the critical transformations in its southern neighborhood. You can download the policy brief here  
"Challenges to the New Programming of EU funds in Bulgaria after 2013 Based on the Analysis of the Experience in 2007 to 2013"   is a new report by the European Policies and Civic Participation program of OSI-Sofia.
Publications
imageThe publication contains the findings of the new edition of the Catch-Up Index. The index measures and ranks the performance of 35 countries –EU member states, candidate and potential candidate countries across four categories: Economy, Quality of Life, Democracy and Governance, using 47 indicators. There are five editions of the index since 2011, which provides the opportunity to identify trends and patterns in the process of development of individual countries, groups of countries and categories of the index.
The index is created and maintained by the OpenSociety Institute – Sofia and is available at
www.TheCatchUpIndex.eu .
The report “The Gravity Effect: Findings of the European Catch-Up Index 2014” (Index 2014), presents the findings of the fourth edition of the European Catch-Up index, which measures and ranks the performance of 35 countries –EU member states, candidate and potential candidate countries across four categories: Economy, Quality of Life, Democracy and Governance, using 47 indicators, with scores from 100-0 (highest to lowest) and rankings from 1-35 (highest to lowest).
The report “It’s a Process: Findings of the European Catch-Up Index” (Index 2013), presents the findings of the third edition of the European Catch-Up index, which measures and ranks the performance of 35 countries –EU member states, candidate and potential candidate countries across four categories: Economy, Quality of Life, Democracy and Governance, using 47 indicators, with scores from 100-0 (highest to lowest) and rankings from 1-35 (highest to lowest).
The report “Aftershocks: What Did the Crisis Do to Europe?” (Index 2012), presents the findings of the second edition of the European Catch-Up index, which measures and ranks the performance of 35 countries –EU member states, candidate and potential candidate countries across four categories: Economy, Quality of Life, Democracy and Governance, using 47 indicators, with scores from 100-0 (highest to lowest) and rankings from 1-35 (highest to lowest).
The European Catch-Up Index The new European Catch-Up Index redefines the current notions about the state of the EU, Europe and the economic crisis by analyzing the performance of 35 countries in Economy, Democracy, Governance and Quality of Life.
A series of monitoring reports on the progress of Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to join Schengen were prepared and released in October 2010 and February 2011 in cooperation with the Romanian Center for European Policies (CRPE).
23.07.2009

“The Unfinished Business of the Fifth Enlargement Countries” analyzes the problems faced by the ten new member states after their accession to the EU in eleven policy areas including political development, the economy, the healthcare system and education.
EuPI has released a series of reports within the project "The EU New Member States as Agenda Setters in the Enlarged European Union", with the "Not Your Grandfather’s Eastern Bloc" comparative policy report.
EuPI has contributed to a major report on EU-Russia relations by ECFR's Mark Leonard and Nicu Popescu

2008 European Policies Initiative

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