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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 »
 
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 »
 
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 »
 
The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence in Central and Eastern Europe
Russia has used a number of instruments to amplify its economic footprint in Central and Eastern Europe, aiming to increase its political influence, to capture public policy making, and ultimately to discredit the West's democratic model, and undermine trans-Atlantic ties. These instruments have been outlined in The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence in Eastern and Central Europe, a report prepared by the Center for the Study of Democracy in partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The report was presented at a public event at CSIS in Washington D.C. more »
 
Countering Corruption and State Capture in Southeast Europe
In the past ten years, both the nature of corruption and the anti-corruption 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 »
 
Shadow Economies and Undeclared Work in Europe: New Insights and Policy Response
In recent years the shadow economy, once thought to be a problem only for less economically developed countries, has become recognised a pressing issue for developed economies as well. It acutely affects Bulgaria which is widely recognised as having the largest shadow economy in the European Union. The Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) in cooperation with the Sheffield University Management School (UK) and the Institute of Public Finance (Croatia) organised an international Marie Curie conference with the aim to provide a better understanding of the causes and effects of the shadow economy and undeclared work as well as to new insights in the field and to identify various policy responses. During the conference, which gathered leading academics, government officials and politicians, it became clear that it is possible to identify and rectify the shadow economy but that is neither an easy nor a simple task. more »
 
Tackling Criminal Finances: Anti-Money Laundering in Bulgaria
Money laundering (ML) and other financial crimes are generally linked to different predicate offences by organized crime groups (most often with regards to traffic of narcotics and human beings, prostitution, weapons, computer crimes, etc.). Combating and investigating money laundering thus requires a systematic approach to collection and analysis of financial information for the activities of organized crime groups, as well as broader application and understanding of the legal framework, and substantiation of the existing capacity within the relevant law enforcement structures. more »
 
State Capture Unplugged: Countering Administrative and Political Corruption in Bulgaria
The lack of a sustainable anticorruption solution in Bulgaria is indicative of a far more significant problem - the numerous corrupt relations and dependencies involving high-level officials and politicians, known as state capture. This leads to the formation of systemic flaws such as abuse of public procurement mechanisms, hidden economy, VAT and other tax scams, blocking of law enforcement and control institutions, media capture. more »
 

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