Europe’s Burden: Promoting Good Governance Across Borders

The EU is many things: a civilization ideal to emulate, an anchor of geopolitical stabilization, a generous donor, and a history lesson on cooperation across nations. A fixer of national governance problems, however, it is not. In this book, Mungiu-Pippidi investigates the efficacy of the European Union’s promotion of good governance through its funding and conditionalities both within the EU proper and in the developing world. The evidence assembled shows that the idea of European power to transform the quality of governance is largely a myth. From Greece to Egypt and from Kosovo to Turkey, EU interventions in favour of good governance and anti-corruption policy have failed so far to trigger the domestic political dynamic needed to ensure sustainable change. Mungiu-Pippidi explores how we can better bridge the gap between the Europe of treaties and the reality of governance in Europe and beyond. This book will interest students and scholars of comparative politics, European politics, and development studies, particularly those examining governance and corruption.

Reviews for this publication

“A blistering and contrarian critique of EU anti-corruption efforts from one of the field’s leading authorities. Based on extensive quantitative data spanning both EU member states and a large number of the union’s external partners, the book’s findings have troubling implications for the future of EU good governance strategies – and deserve to be considered with the utmost seriousness.”

Richard Youngs – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Europe


Switzerland is among top ten well governed countries in the index for public integrity, on behalf of the perfect balance across all its components, without leading in any either within the region or its income group. Its performance is all the more remarkable seeing that its public accountability framework is light, in particular on financial disclosures for officials and funding of parties. Its risks come from the export-driven nature of its economy, and its long term tradition of bank secrecy. It took some US pressure for Switzerland to open up bank secrecy, but some of its finest banks and companies have been embroiled in corruption scandals overseas. OECD considers that Switzerland could do more to enforce the international anti-bribery convention.