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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 »
 
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 »
 
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 »
 
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 »
 

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