EU-WB - Jean Monnet Module

Research

Research activity: Europeanization of anti-corruption policy in the Western Balkans and Croatia

The enlargement policy of the EU has been marked as the cornerstone of all relations towards the region of the Western Balkans and the EU puts the rule of law and democratic governance at the centre of the enlargement policy and future negotiations. As indicated by the EC, key challenges facing the rule of law in the Western Balkans are: judicial system, fight against organized crime, public administration reform, fundamental rights, freedom of expression, but foremost corruption; as the core of the rule of law and democratic governance.

Research rationale would be the importance of research focus. Corruption undermines the democratic concept of governance. Political corruption is considered the most dangerous for transition democracies, as it implies the general decay of political system, manipulation of political power and authority. For post-communist states, political corruption is the primary source of jeopardizing state legitimacy with particular interest of political, interest or ethnic group, party or caste that consequently leads to state weakness and sheer denial of human rights. In a post-war, post-communist, transition-on-going societies of Western Balkans, state weakness represent permanent insecurity and instability for the whole region on all levels of governance.

This is why research objective would be Europeanization of anti-corruption policy in the Western Balkans and Croatia. As political corruption is connected with political leadership, research questions would be: 1) What are causes and circumstances, similarities and differences of political corruption in the Western Balkans and Croatia, 2) as social and political reforms represents the essence of the transition process that was the most influenced by the EU, which elements of Europeanization did impact anti-corruption measures in the region and how efficient were their implementation, 3) what was the role of state (government) in combating corruption, especially in institutional frame as its absence proved to be the major cause of political corruption.

Evaluating political corruption in comparative perspective of the Western Balkans’ states has not been fully presented yet and this research project would extend “theories” of development and anti-corruption to research questions of social values of political corruption in the Balkans that is important issue for development of this region in the future.

This research is planned at the beginning of 2017 in collaboration with Faculty of Philosophy University of Zagreb and GRECO (the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) representatives lead by Head of GRECO, Judge Dr Marin Mrčela, Justice of the Supreme Court Croatia.