EU membership is a prospect for several of the Western Balkan countries. The road towards EU accession consists of negotiations and dialogue between relevant key EU stakeholders and the governments of countries aspiring to become EU member states. Such dialogues and negotiations revolve around reforms and standards that the EU has set out as requirements for eventually acquiring membership status. The road towards EU enlargement is marked by challenges both within the EU, as well as within the countries aspiring to become member countries.  While the Western Balkan countries continue to progress towards EU accession – at different paces  – several challenges to democracy and the rule of law persist, such as corruption, flaws in the judicial system, as well as organised crime. Political polarisation is widespread in the region, while the space for civil society is shrinking in many of the countries. In the region, Sweden is present with bilateral as well as regional programs through the Results Strategy for Sweden’s Reform Cooperation with Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey 2014-2021. 

Nordic Consulting Group will assess one of the regional interventions supported by Sida between 2015 and 2021. The intervention is implemented by the European Stability Initiative (ESI). This evaluation will serve as an input to help Sida and its partner ESI to assess progress of the on-going intervention and to learn from what works well and less well, as well as to formulate recommendations on how its management team can improve and adjust the intervention’s design and implementation.