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State Capture Unplugged

For a number of years, CSD’s Corruption Monitoring System has indicated that administrative corruption in Bulgaria shows little signs of abating. The same applies to an even more potent form of corruption – state capture. These two manifestations are closely linked because they represent different facets of the same phenomenon: corruption behavior. Rampant administrative corruption in the country is indicative not only of violations by public officials in their dealings with business and members of the public. Such a situation is exacerbated by high levels of political corruption – that is, high prevalence of corrupt transactions perpetrated by management level public officials and elected politicians. more »

Previous Highlights »

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 »

National Study on Domestic and Gender-based Violence and Elaboration of Victims' Support Model
Bulgaria is among those half of the EU-member states where statistical information about victim-offender relationship is not gathered, hereby making impossible the assessment of the share of domestic violence among the crimes against the person. Domestic violence is not qualified as a criminal offence and is still not included in the Criminal Code – and respectively, in the statistical data provided by the Police and by the National Statistical Institute. In the described country context, the need of systematic study on the prevalence, forms, vulnerable groups, unmet needs of the victims, and possibilities for further stable improvement of their situation, is beyond any doubt. 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 »

Development and Implementation of Unified Standards for Forced Return Monitoring
The Center for the Study of Democracy and CVS-Bulgaria supported by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, co-financed by the European Union, launched the initiative Development and Implementation of Unified Standards for Forced Return Monitoring. more »


Corruption pressure and involvement

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"Key public institutions have been captured by private interests," the Sofia-based Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) think-tank said. "Critical sectors of the public administration and the judiciary have become dysfunctional to the extent that nothing short of a drastic shake-up would have any impact". It said the number of corruption cases processed by law enforcement and punished was "negligible compared to the real magnitude of the problem".

Bulgaria losing corruption fight, Agence France-Presse, 4 July 2016

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“The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. I think this concept is especially true when it comes to fighting corruption. We cannot let corruption operate with impunity and we cannot let corruption become substitute of the rule of law, as it will eventually destroy the foundation on which democracy rests."

Mr. Alexander A. Arvizu, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) during the SELDI policy forum: Countering Corruption and State Capture in Southeast Europe, 29-30 September 2016, Skopje

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Business and