The policy brief zooms precisely on this “executive bias” – the focus of the region’s EU integration process based largely on dialogue between elected governments, with insufficient involvement of parliaments and wider society. It contends that meeting membership criteria and securing the irreversibility of reforms post-accession is only possible if the ownership of reforms in aspirant countries is extended beyond the executive branch of power. The text argues that in terms of civil society, the EU initially focused on internal capacity building. Then on working towards the creation of an enabling environment for this sector, and finally, on fostering relations between the state and civil society. It also offers recommendations towards building more substantive involvement of national parliaments and civil society in the EU integration process. Read more here.