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The New Edition of the Catch-Up Index Presented and Online

27.04.2016

The Open Society Institute - Sofia, with the kind assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organized a discussion on  „The Catch-Up Index: Are the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe Catching-up Successfully with the Rest of the EU?” with the participation of political and social scientists, economists and diplomats. The new edition of the index has been made available online at www.TheCatchUpIndex.eu .

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“The EU membership matters and brings substantial benefits for the overall development of societies and the economy. This is evident by the fact that according to the index data, only the group of the new member states achieves significant improvement of its indicators” stated Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov in the opening of the discussion. He added that Bulgaria is among the countries, which alternate stronger and weaker years of performance and it is necessary to create better sustainability of its progress.

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Georgi  Stoytchev, Executive Director of OSI-Sofia, presented the aim and goals of the “Catch-Up Index”  as a long-term project of the institute and a contribution to the process of integration of Central and Eastern European countries in the EU.
H.E. Tom van Oorschot, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands , which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, said that the aspirations of CEE countries upon entry into the EU are still valid and they are, in fact, reflected in the priorities of the current Dutch presidency of the Council: prosperity, freedom and security. He emphasize how relevant and how important convergence in Europe is, adding that “the EU is a community of shared values, based on mutal trust and recognition. A community without boundaries can only work when the discrepencies in developments between the member states are minimal. As I stated we need common solutions for many of the problems we face.”

Ognyan Minchev, Director of the Institute for Regional and International Studies, focused on the challenging transition process in Central and Eastern Europe and emphasized the still necessary modernization of the Balkan states.

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“The main finding of the Index 2015 is that the catching-up is a working process, which yields results and brings about convergence of the “younger” member states with the rest of the EU” said Marin Lessenski,  who presented the new edition of the index. “According to the index, the only group of countries that registered progress over a five year term is the group of CEE EU member states. It is not a uniform process though as there is clear evidence that some countries make better use of EU membership than others.”


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 (www.osi.bg ) and is available at
www.TheCatchUpIndex.eu .

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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