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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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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 »

Understanding Russian Influence in Central and Eastern Europe
CSD presented the Kremlin Playbook report at the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies in Brussels together with researchers from leading European think-tanks examining the malign Russian influence in Europe. CSD speakers debated how Russia has leveraged its economic presence to cultivate an opaque web of economic and political patronage across the region that the Kremlin uses to influence decision-making. more »

The Anti-Corruption Agenda for Southeast Europe after the 2016 Enlargement Package: How to Break the State Capture Deadlock and Make Enlargement Deliver Again?
In its 2015 and 2016 Enlargement Packages, the European Commission has announced that there will not be further enlargement by the end of the current Commission’s term - October 2019. While, the EU and key member-states have expressed their continuing commitment to the enlargement process in the Western Balkans, citizens and stakeholders have seen the enlargement “freeze” as a drag on motivation and drive for further reforms. more »


Russian Economic Footprint as Share of the Economy

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"Bulgaria has clearly benefited since it joined the European Union,” said Ruslan Stefanov, an analyst for the Center for the Study of Democracy, a Sofia-based think tank. “We’re richer, with a wider choice in terms of jobs and education across the bloc.”

Even more Bulgarians work and travel throughout the bloc, taking advantage of the region’s free movement of labor. That, according to Mr. Stefanov, has helped keep unemployment relatively low at around 8 percent — if Bulgarians cannot find jobs at home, he noted, they look abroad.

As Support for E.U. Flags Elsewhere, Bulgaria Sees Its Benefits, The New York Times, 16 January 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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