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New Measures to Counter Russian Influence Adopt the Recommendations of the Kremlin Playbook Report

Ten bipartisan US Senators tabled comprehensive Russia sanctions legislation, the Countering Russian Hostilities Act of 2017, which aims to introduce comprehensive sanctions on Russia for their cyber intrusions, aggression and destabilizing activities in the US and in Europe. The proposed legislation has recognized some of the key findings and policy recommendations from the recent report by CSD and CSIS The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence in Central and Eastern Europe including that Russia had tried to exert influence in Europe by sowing “distrust in democratic institutions” and “engaging in well-documented corruption practices” to increase Russian influence in European countries. more »

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EU Funds and the Path to Good Governance in Bulgaria and Romania: Lessons Learnt
Ten years after the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU, the challenge of corruption continues to define the two countries` status within the Union. The Round Table will look at the dynamics and evolution of EU funding, provided to the two countries in pursue of greater anticorruption progress and good governance reforms. What has been the impact of the EU financial support on governance and to what degree it has produced tangible results against corruption? Have EU funding rules contributed to greater transparency and efficiency in the public procurement process? more »

Members of the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) Center for Excellence visit the Center for the Study of Democracy
Radicalisation is a complex phenomenon that requires holistic policy approaches to prevention, involving a multitude of state and non-state actors. Тhe key role of frontline practitioners in prevention has been increasingly recognized at national and EU levels. The Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) brings together practitioners from around Europe who work daily with people who have already been radicalised, or who are vulnerable to radicalisation. more »

A Revanchist Russia versus an Uncertain West
An aggressive Russia, a divided and unsettled Europe, and a distracted and unpredictable United States have created an unprecedented and perilous confluence of events that could undermine the European security architecture and the liberal-democratic order. This was one of the main conclusions of a round table on Russian influence in Europe in the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis, organized by the Center for the Study of Democracy following the publication of the Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence in Central and Eastern Europe report co-written with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The round table gathered Bulgarian policy makers, experts and Sofia-based diplomats for a discussion on the possible response to the Russian subversive activities in Europe. more »

Tackling Undeclared Work and Hidden Economy in Southeast Europe: Improving Governance and Prosperity
The existence of undeclared work, hidden economy and corruption have been identified by the European Commission and other international and local agencies as a major barrier to enabling embedded economic prosperity in SEE. The sustained high-levels of the hidden economy in SEE, low trust in public institutions and, in some cases, ambiguous national identity, has resulted in changes in tax morale and lower revenues for governments. These were the key conclusions from the policy round table held by the SELDI initiative, Sheffield University Management School, UK, and the Center for Liberal-Democratic Studies (CLDS), Serbia. more »


Russian Economic Footprint as Share of the Economy

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“The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Sofia-based Center for the Study of Democracy released a study in October. Called “The Kremlin Playbook,” it characterized Bulgaria as the most deeply penetrated by Russia financially. Investment with Russian roots, direct and indirect, accounts for more than 22 percent of Bulgaria’s gross domestic product, marking the country as a “captured state,” said the study, of which Mr. Stefanov was an author.”

Bulgaria Grows Uneasy as Trump Complicates Its Ties to Russia, The New York Times, 4 February 2017

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“Pubic support is the key of success, especially in holding politicians accountable in times of elections. The people should share the responsibility, report cases of corruption, and not only rely on institutions to solve the corruption problem. Legislation should be effectively enforced. To make a difference, we need the right people in the right places.” 

Monica Macovei, Member of the European Parliament at the SELDI round table: The Anti-Corruption Agenda for Southeast Europe after the 2016 Enlargement Package: How to Break the State Capture Deadlock and Make Enlargement Deliver Again?, 30 November 2016, European Parliament, Brussels

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