To discuss efforts for sustainable reform, the Regional Anti-Corruption Network “Southeast Europe Leadership for Development and Integrity” (SELDI) hosted the international policy forum “Anti-Corruption, Democratic Resilience and Economic Security” in Sofia on 9 November 2023.
Dr. Ognian Shentov, Chairman of CSD, and Siri Beate Barry, Ambassador of Norway, greeted the participants at the forum and stressed the necessity for putting existing policy engagements into practice. Nikolay Denkov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria and Laura Kövesi, European Chief Prosecutor underlined that the lack of strong political leaders, capacity and procedures are hampering the effort to stop illicit financial flows, as well as the process of freezing and seizing assets belonging to actors sanctioned for corruption, illegal enrichment, money laundering, and organized crime. They emphasized that the solution should be sought not only in fair and effective justice but also through awareness and cultural change.
Our researcher and head of the Center for Good Governance, Misha Popovikj was speaker at the second panel discussion “Anti-Corruption Policy Implementation”. Exploring emerging tools and approaches, the discourse aimed to shed light on the dynamic and evolving methods employed in the ongoing battle against corruption, with a focus on fostering tangible, lasting impact in diverse societal contexts.
“At some point, corruption risk assessment (CRA) and integrity policies have conflicted. And somehow integrity policies became more about the integrity of human resources rather than structural integrity, integrity of institutions. CRA can be an important advocacy tool particularly in cases when there is controversy in the society and the particular institutions become involved in the controversy”, said Popovikj.
CSD presented its annual Good Governance report, produced in partnership with the largest regional anti-corruption network SELDI.net and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, Bridges to Nowhere: State Capture and Corruption Risks in Fiscal Transfers and Public Procurement at the Local Level in Southeast Europe as well as its latest policy brief with recommendations, The State of Capture: The Risks to Distributive Politics in Southeast Europe. Both documents outline how shadow networks of clientelism compromise the integrity of public finances in Southeast Europe and hinder the capacity of the region to cope with a number of converging domestic and international challenges. The experts recommended the systematic and continuous use of corruption risk assessment tools to identify and counter the most prevalent and damaging corruption and conflict of interest schemes at institutional, sector and local levels.