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Geopolitics, State Capture and Peak Corruption

What is Next for Anticorruption in the Western Balkans?

The Kremlin’s war in Ukraine has come to dominate the agenda in Europe in a very urgent way. It has forced the EU to scramble to action for reinvigorating enlargement in the Western Balkans. The European Commission stepped up its internal governance support efforts through the adoption of the European Democracy Action Plan and the revamped Rule of Law Mechanism. The US government included anticorruption as a key pillar of its national security strategy and launched the Summit for Democracy aimed at safeguarding democratic resilience.

It is against the background of a very difficult time for anticorruption in the Western Balkans that the Southeast Europe Leadership for Development and Integrity (SELDI) has made its regular in-depth diagnostic of corruption and governance gaps in the region, the findings of which are presented in this report. SELDI’s methodology combines a unique measurement of the actual proliferation of corruption and state capture vulnerabilities with an assessment of the anticorruption infrastructure that is designed to reduce them. The chapters of the report present the dynamics of corruption and state capture levels, developments in national anticorruption polices and legislation, institutional practices of anticorruption oversight bodies, linkages between corruption and the hidden economy, and the role of civil society and international cooperation in anticorruption.

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