“The war showed that the risks to democratic governance and national security are linked. Bulgaria has accepted the important and responsible role of leading a cohort to question and find solutions to the challenge of corruption as a factor affecting national security, the sovereignty of each nation, and the stability of the region.”





Krum ZarkovMinister of Justice of the Republic of Bulgaria

“Trust between EU and NATO member states is becoming a crucial factor in ensuring stability and security in Europe and the world. Further, the trust of citizens in the ability of national institutions to fulfil their constitutional mission is no less essential than ever.”



Rumen RadevPresident of the Republic of Bulgaria

“Fighting corruption is a defining challenge of our era. Corruption weakens people’s resolve and their ability to belive they can do better. “

Ambassador Christopher R. HillUnited States Embassy in Belgrade

“The European project is not finished until the Western Balkans are inside. … The Economic and Investment Plan will speed up the economic development and boost the region’s convergence with the European Union. However, the implementation of this plan goes hand-in-hand with the continued need for reforms in the areas of the so-called “fundamentals”. “

Nicola Bertolini

Nicola BertoliniHead of Operation, EU Delegation to the Republic of North Macedonia, 08 April 2021

“If we look at the European integration process as a box-ticking exercise, it would be easy…but we know that this is not the case – rules are only useful when they are enforced.”

Ms. Viola von Cramon-TaubadelMEP, Greens/EFA Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the European Parliament’s rapporteur for Kosovo, 30 October 2020

“The new approach of opening chapters 23 and 24 earlier in accession negotiations can push the implementation of necessary long-term reforms beyond the term of a single government. The countries need to have real anti-corruption mechanisms that stand the test and are systematically used to expose illegal wealth. Lately however the countries embrace the soft preventive tools, and effective enforcement is missing.”

Ms Sabine ZwaenepoelChapter Coordinator, Accession Negotiations to the EU, DG NEAR, 14 June 2016

“Rooting out corruption, increased transparency and how government operates, making sure that regulations are not designed just to advantage elites, but are allowing people who have a good idea to get out there and get things done.”

Mr. Barack ObamaPresident of the United States, 24 July 2015

“Corruption remains a major impediment to progress in this region. It is the cancer that saps strength from our democracies and drives up unemployment and civil unrest. More than that, it opens vulnerabilities that autocrats, petro states, and violent extremists exploit. All those who seek to stir up trouble here find an easy gateway when dirty money can buy corrupt politicians and undercut democratic governance and the rule of law.”

Ms. Victoria NulandAssistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, US Department of State

“World opinion makers say corruption has increased; and that power and technology generate grand corruption. We face new challenges. The time is ripe for a new rule book to fight corruption. Most of us prioritize the bribe giver, and the bribe taker.  This morning, I suggest we sharpen our focus on the middlemen. The enablers of corruption; those who profit off its proceeds.”

Mr. Leonard McCarthyWorld Bank Group Vice President for Integrity, 11 May 2015

“Corruption drains your economy, it eats into progress, it is an everyday tiresome blight on people’s lives. It’s time to end it – by prosecuting and punishing it, but also preventing it, through a new culture.”

Mr. Jean Claude JunckerPresident of the European Commission, 28 April 2015

“On rule of law, the functioning of an independent and professional judiciary is key. Tackling organised crime and corruption and establishing clear track records of investigations, prosecutions and appropriate sentencing is also essential. These issues will be our priority with all countries and in our annual progress reports. In terms of democratic transformation, national parliaments need to be at the heart of the reform process in each of the enlargement countries to ensure democratic accountability and inclusiveness. We will work even more closely with local civil society actors to anchor reforms across society.”

Mr. Johannes HahnCommissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, 22 October 2014

“Five years ago, we set out to strengthen the credibility and the transformative power of enlargement policy. We put a particular emphasis on three pillars: rule of law in 2012, economic governance in 2013 and this year, we’re setting out new ideas to support public administration reform, and strengthening of democratic institutions. Today, this approach is bearing fruit. The process is credible and is bringing concrete results through reforms that gradually transform the countries concerned, improving stability in our immediate neighbourhood. It also makes the countries better prepared for the EU entry and for the responsibilities of the membership”.

Mr. Štefan FüleCommissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, 8 October 2014

“We underline our support for the prospect of European integration for the countries of the Western Balkans. All of the countries of the Western Balkans will have an opportunity to join the European Union if they meet the conditions for accession. Germany is aware of its responsibility for a peaceful, stable and democratic future based on the rule of law, and will continue to support the region on its path to this future.”

Ms. Angela MerkelGermany’s Chancellor, 28 August 2014

“Our common goal is clear: We want to see the Western Balkan countries ultimately join the European Union.  This is in our joint political, economic and geo-strategic interest. This is the right way to defend the long term prosperity of all the citizens in our European family and also to defend European stability.”

Mr. José Manuel BarrosoEuropean Commission President, 28 August 2014

“Today is a good day for enlargement and a great day for Albania’s EU integration. Albania is one step closer to the European Union, another important milestone on EU path has been reached. Granting of candidate status is a logical consequence of Albania’s reform efforts. At the same time it should be seen as an encouragement to continue with existing reforms and embarking on new reforms necessary to prepare Albania for the start of the accession negotiations later on. The Albanian government has continued to implement and consolidate reform measures in judicial reform, in the fight against corruption and organized crime. Albania will need to continue and consolidate its systematic approach to reforms, address existing shortcomings and tackle remaining EU-related challenges. To conclude, the granting of candidate status to Albania is a clear testimony that the enlargement process is credible and dynamic, and that the EU sticks to its promises and commitments once the partners deliver on their reform homework.”

Mr. Štefan FüleCommissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, 24 June 2014

“An independent and impartial judiciary and the respect for fundamental rights are of a crucial significance for EU accession. They are at the very heart of the European values. Hence our strong insistence on continuing engagement with the Turkish partners on these matters. It is not about comparing the exact language of the particular pieces of the Turkish legislation with the existing EU laws. It is about ensuring that the basic principles and standards of the EU are followed in a way that safeguards the European values – such as independence of judiciary and separation of powers.”

Mr. Štefan FüleCommissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, 17 June 2014

“One of the priorities for economic reforms focuses on strengthening governance and reducing corruption across sectors and institutions. The Western Balkans continues to lag significantly behind EU member states on all major indictors of governance. Relevant reforms include measures to strengthen the independence and quality of regulatory and oversight bodies, and streamlining regulations and administrative processes to reduce opportunities for rent-seeking behavior. Effective governance will also require public procurement systems that foster competition, financial management practices that are transparent and subject to regular audits, a meritocratic civil service, and transparency and accountability at every level of government. Specific governance reforms can lead to large gains.”

Ms. Laura TuckWorld Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, 3 June 2014

“Corruption erodes trust in public institutions and in democracy, it undermines our internal market, it hampers foreign investment, it costs tax payers millions, and in many cases it helps organised crime groups do their dirty work. This is all the more worrying in times of economic and financial crisis. In order to pull Europe from the brink of the crisis, we need to attack corruption effectively by pulling efforts from all sides. The Report will hopefully provide everyone – politicians, the public, media and practitioners – with a useful tool for taking national corruption policy forward.”

Ms. Cecilia MalmströmEU Commissioner for Home Affairs, 3 February 2014

“Let’s not mince words: In the developing world, corruption is public enemy number one. We will never tolerate corruption, and I pledge to do all in our power to build upon our strong fight against it.”

Mr. Jim Yong KimPresident of the World Bank Group, 19 December 2013

“The opening of chapters 23 and 24 marks an important step in implementing the “new approach” on the rule of law issues, putting them at the heart of the enlargement process. … The Montenegrin government showed determination in engaging in reforms that made it possible to open these chapters and this has to continue: The accession process is rigorous and demanding. Only determination, commitment and political will bring successful results.”

Mr. Štefan FüleCommissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, 18 December 2013