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From the Ground Up. Assessing the Record of Anticorruption Assistance in Southeastern Europe

Tisne, Martin and Smilov, Daniel
Based on research findings from twenty case studies from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Macedonia, this policy paper assesses the effects of five years of donor-supported anticorruption projects and high-profile public awareness campaigns in Southeastern Europe. The paper argues that while projects have raised public awareness and demand for reform, solutions have yet to be found. The authors investigate both the expectations raised and the success of the implemented measures. Failure to meet the high public expectations coincides with falling trust in democratic institutions in the region. The authors of the case studies argue that the reviewed projects had only a short-term impact and generally failed to create a self-sustaining constituency for further reform. When success was achieved it often depended on factors such as the presence of a 'champion' or the availability of exceptional donor resources for a single, receptive client. The most successful projects provided direct benefits to a well-defined constituency. In conclusion, the paper argues that donors should seek to build sustained public demand for a realistic, long-term anticorruption reform agenda. This can be achieved, firstly, by moving away from the fight against corruption per se and towards mobilizing well-defined constituencies behind focused governance reforms with clear impacts and benefits. Secondly, citizens should be encouraged to fight corruption through the democratic mechanisms of political representation by supporting, among others, political party reform. If anticorruption reforms are included in the political process and meet public needs, the long awaited mobilizational potential of the anticorruption agenda might well be realized.
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Contributor: Center for Policy Studies - http://cps.ceu.hu
Topic: Politics and Governance
Country: general
Document Type: Policy Analyses
Year: 2004
Keywords: Anti-Corruption, NGO, Public Administration Reform
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