The current policy brief makes an regional overview of the challenge of corruption, analyses the findings from the EU Progress Reports and presents the role of Civil Society Organisations as catalyst for combating corruption.
Corruption is continuously ranked among the grand challenges, faced by the SEE countries. Despite the positive efforts of establishing regulatory and institutional base for fighting corruption, including specialised anti-corruption agencies, which are being introduced in the majority of the countries in the region, significant problems persists, especially with regard to the practical implementation of the existing legal framework and institutional enforcement.
Data shows that control of corruption is more effective in countries with larger number of CSOs, as well as with broader citizens` base, participating in voluntary activities. As long as the capacity for association and collective action exists, a society is able to keep a check on public corruption. In the absence of public oversight it is nearly impossible, even by enforcing repressive or administrative means, to build-in control of corruption. This is a clear disadvantage of some East European regions, which lack a sufficient base of proactive and independent non-governmental organisations, thus creating an environment of low capacity for association and sound collective action against corruption. Hence, society is left isolated from the process of combating corruption, which is among the reasons for the slow implementation of the already comprehensive legal framework, which has, for the most parts, been established in the SEE region.