The State of Capture: Тhe Elusive Quest for Anti-Corruption Results

Policy brief 144 ENThe escalating geopolitical tensions worldwide, exemplified by conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, have disrupted common global agendas. This, coupled with the challenge to established international governance norms by countries like Russia and China, has emboldened autocrats and kleptocrats to sideline democratic processes and anti-corruption efforts. As a result, key anti-corruption agreements and institutions, such as the UN Convention against Corruption and the European Union’s conditionalities, have weakened.

Bulgaria underscores this trend. Administrative corruption is surging, with individuals and businesses facing significant pressure. Evidence suggests criminal and political interference in the judiciary, which cripples the efforts to dismantle state capture through breakthroughs in signature cases.

The policy brief outlines key strategies to address these challenges. Bulgaria needs concurrent policies focused on protecting its economic security against Russia, exposing and targeting state capture, and enhancing anti-money laundering enforcement, especially in the energy sector. It is crucial to expand the European Public Prosecutor’s Office’s mandate to include violations of EU sanctions against Russia, given the ineffective and selective nature of national law enforcement. Reactivating regulatory and enforcement agencies should be implemented alongside EU-wide efforts to combat strategic corruption and state capture through coalition building involving reformist politicians, civil society, the private sector, and international partners.


Download the policy brief in English

Download the policy brief in Bulgarian

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