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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. 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 »
 
The Russian Economic Footprint in Central and Eastern Europe: Addressing Strategic Vulnerabilities in Hybrid Warfare
In the last decade, Russia has used a range of tools to amplify its economic footprint in Central and Eastern Europe and achieve its political goals. These were some of the issues discussed at an international conference in Sofia, co-sponsored by the NATO Public Diplomacy Division. more »
 
What Comes After the Islamic State: Implications for Europe
The current situation in Syria and Iraq and the emergence of the so-called Islamic State (IS) have created new security threats globally and in Europe. Since its rise as a new actor on the Islamist extremist scene, IS has become infamous for its exceptionally cruel tactics in territories it controls but also for organising and/or inspiring numerous terrorist acts far from its official borders, including in Europe and the US. Recently, the international military campaign against IS has been intensifying and the latter has suffered territorial loses. more »
 
Second Annual Meeting of the South East Coalition on Whistleblower Protection
The South East Europe (SEE) Coalition on Whistleblower Protection held its second Annual Meeting organized by the Regional Anti-corruption Initiative (RAI) and Blueprint for Free Speech (BPfFS) with support of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), in Zagreb. The event provided additional boost to the promotion and protection of whistleblowers in the region. It contributed to the overall efforts challenging the national governments to seek better legal solutions and to work more intensively on establishing policy implementation mechanisms. Representatives of the SELDI members from RAI, the Center for the Study of Democracy, Institute Alternativa and the Romanian Academic Society (SAR), took part int he event. more »
 
Defrauding the Bulgarian Public Procurement System: Prevention, Countering and Analysis of Corruption Risks
Despite the legislative and institutional progress, especially in terms of increased transparency and access to data, the public procurement (PP) sector in Bulgaria continues to be associated with high levels of corruption risk. The number of irregularities uncovered by the control bodies remains considerable. At the same time there is a lack of effective investigation, while criminal cases, involving PP, are still very limited and predominantly focused on the lower levels of governance. more »
 
Countering Extortion Racketeering in Bulgaria: Examining the Evidence and Devising Appropriate Measures
During the 1990s, Bulgaria experienced a significant upsurge in extortion racketeering, a crime which came to define the decade. Even though rates have decreased in recent years, the problem appears to persist. On 27 October 2016, the Center for the Study of Democracy organized a round table discussion on Countering Extortion Racketeering: Problem areas and Possible Measures. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Interior, General Directorate National Police, General Directorate Combatting Organised Crime and the Sofia Appellate Court. more »
 
Shadow Power: Corruption and Hidden Economy in Southeast Europe
In the past ten years, both the nature of corruption and the anticorruption agenda in Southeast Europe have changed. Political corruption has replaced petty bribery both as the dominant concern of national and international reformists and as one of the leading causes for most social and economic damage. The earlier emphasis on harmonising national legislation with international standards has now been substituted by a focus on its enforcement. In 2012 the European Commission adopted a new enlargement approach, which placed rule of law, anti-corruption, and judicial reform at the heart of the process. To respond to the new EU policy priorities, the Southeast European Leadership for Development and Integrity (SELDI) coalition and the Macedonian Anti-Corruption Platform have developed and implemented a civil society-led approach to monitoring and tackling corruption, which provides policy makers with important insights. more »
 

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