Anti-corruption provisions in EU free tradeand investment agreements: Delivering on clean trade.

As the European Commission has noted, trade has already been advancing the cause of good governance. Can international trade do more and become an instrument of promoting anticorruption; and with what effects? This report will summarize the existing evidence and options for the EU by addressing these four questions:

  • What is the connection between trade and corruption? What is the mechanism linking the two, according to empirical evidence?
  • What is the most recent practice in regard to free trade agreements and anticorruption provisions that should be considered by the EU when designing its own strategy for the future?
  • What is the evidence concerning the performance of pure anticorruption provisions, not directly related to trade, in the form of international conventions and treaties against corruption, seeing that their inclusion in trade agreements is increasingly recommended?
  • What are the options for the EU, seeing that it is also the world’s largest development donor, giving aid to more than 110 of the countries it trades with?

The evidence for this brief report is on the one hand based on secondary sources, as organizations such as the OECD or the Bretton Woods institutions have been researching this subject for quite some time, while on the other hand it is based on original research funded by the EU’s own Seventh Framework project ANTICORRP (anticorrp.eu) which is dedicated to anticorruption.

The Anticorruption Report Vol. 4: Beyond the Panama Papers

The final title in the series The Anticorruption Report covers the most important findings of the five-year-long EU-sponsored ANTICORRP project on corruption and organized crime. How prone to corruption are EU funds? Who wins and who loses the anticorruption fight? And can we have better measurements than people’s perceptions to indicate if corruption changes? This issue introduces a new index of public integrity and a variety of other tools created in the project.

The Anticorruption Report Vol. 4: Beyond the Panama Papers looks at the performance of EU Good Governance Promotion in different countries in the European neighbourhood. Case studies focussing on Spain, Slovakia and Romania are considering the impact of EU structural funds and good governance promotion within the Union. Further chapters looking at Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Tanzania are analysing EU democracy and good governance support in third countries. The report, edited by Alina Mungiu-Pippidi and Jana Warkotsch offers a comprehensive and overarching look at the successes and pitfalls of the EU’s efforts to democracy promotion and introduces new ways to assess the state of good governance in different countries around the world.

Case study report on control of corruption and EU funds in Ukraine

This report analyses the European Union (EU) – Ukraine relationship by looking at the impact of EU conditionality regarding the anti-corruption framework on the use and distribution of EU funding between 2007 and 2014. It shows that, historically, the EU concern with good governance in Ukraine has been materialised in the form of numerous anti-corruption conditions attached to transnational aid flows. Despite important improvements at institutional levels – particularly the set-up of the National Anticorruption Bureau, the Ukrainian practices and everyday routines have not changed fundamentally. Assessing the impact of EU funding in such a context marked on the one hand by pervasive corruption and on the other hand by a profound desire for change, can be a challenging task, especially due to the fact that a large share of international aid received has been directed to budget support, thus making it impossible to asses if it has been affected by corruption. Using secondary data analysis and interviews with key stakeholders, the report shows that the efficiency of EU assistance could be improved by increasing the levels of control, enhancing transparency and establishing a closer relationship with international partners who are more experienced in tackling EU funding fraud and grand corruption.

EU governance promotion in Tunisia: Lessons from the Arab Spring

This report explores the intersection between European Union assistance to Tunisia and the development of that country’s good governance and anti-corruption framework, both during times of stability under the authoritarian rule of former President Ben Ali and during the turbulent transition period that ensued after the Arab Spring. The report furthermore analyses the changes in funding priorities during the period 2007–2013, as well as the concomitant development and application of the EU’s conditionality framework. It argues that the EU’s use of the instruments at its disposal, as well as the incentives that were on offer, were not always helpful in pushing forward good governance and anti-corruption reforms, and indeed may even at times have been harmful to them.

Case study on EU aid and anti‐corruption and governance in Tanzania

Tanzania boasts one of the highest rates of economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the last decades it also established one of the most harmonised donors frameworks. However, the relationship between Tanzania and its donors has deteriorated significantly in recent years following several high-level corruption cases and slow progress on more complex governance reform. In response, the EU has reformed the composition of its development assistance modalities, which predominantly entailed a reduction in Budget Support, and has stopped committing further aid to Tanzania for the time being. These events indicate considerable limitations to the effectiveness of the EUs (and other donors’) measures to induce good governance through existing modi of development cooperation.

Improving governance in Kosovo: Evaluating the Impact of EU Conditionality through Policy and Financial Assistance

This paper seeks to evaluate the impact of EU policy and funds aimed at improving governance and controlling corruption in Kosovo. It examines the interrelation between EU conditionality as expressed in different policy documents and the financial assistance provided by the EU to Kosovo in the area of rule of law. The focus is on the period since 2007, although the paper begins with a brief overview of the conflict in Kosovo and its aftermath. The paper then tracks how the anti-corruption discourse features in policy documents and funding priorities, highlighting the EU conditionality mechanisms applied and the development assistance provided. It evaluates conditionality in the light of Kosovo’s anti-corruption performance during this period. The paper draws conclusions as to the effectiveness of EU policy and financial assistance in the area of anti-corruption, with a view to informing the ongoing policy debate on how to strengthen EU leverage in improving anti-corruption efforts in aspiring member-states, particularly in a post-conflict context.

The EU Good Governance Approach in Ghana: the growing focus on anti‐corruption measures

Ghana is a strategic country for the European Union’s promotion of peace and good governance in West Africa. However, recent economic challenges have exposed public finance management deficiencies and a crisis of confidence in the ability of the government to deal with increasing deficits; unemployment; and a dramatic energy crisis. Corruption practices are seen as a key factor impeding on the development of the country with recent scandals exposed in the media raising the awareness of the public. With the support of international partners, the government launched its own anti-corruption framework in July 2014, the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), while the EU in Ghana started the Ghana Anti-Corruption, Rule of Law and Accountability (Ghana-ARAP) Programme in January 2016. This report examines how the Ghana-EU Partnership is structured, the state of governance in Ghana, and how the EU has or has not been inducing change in governance practices to fight corruption. The study includes a review of the different aid modalities and recommendations for positive change in Ghana, in terms of both development assistance and anti-corruption strategies.

Case study report on control of corruption and EU funds in Egypt

The European Neighbourhood Policy has without a doubt emphasized the importance of good governance, which became a priority objective in the 2007-2013 EU-Egypt country strategy paper. Within this framework, the EU has conditioned its aid on Egypt’s commitment to reforms. However, in practice, the “softly softly” approach that has seen the EU be too flexible on tying its aid to reforms in the face of the Egyptian resistance to conditionality, has proven to be an extremely opaque and ineffective process. While corruption has been a major governance challenge for Egypt, the EU – only directly addressing the issue in a small-scale decentralized project – did not implement any specific anti-corruption mechanism for oversight or monitoring despite having over 60 per cent of its funds channelled to Egypt’s national treasury through sector budget support. The 2011 Egyptian revolution incontestably led the EU to reflect upon its policies and to pledge stronger commitment to the promotion of good governance and the fight against corruption. But in the highly volatile political environment that followed, the EU’s focus on refining its policy instruments has prevented it from acting in a timely fashion and, once again, the implementation of reforms has lagged far behind Brussels’ outstanding declarations. As the present paper suggests, the EU’s approach has been, in essence, heavily bureaucratic and far less strategic. One fair assumption regarding the EU’s lack of enthusiasm in genuinely addressing corruption – and good governance – would be that the issue has never truly impacted on the core of EU–Egypt relations, which have remained grounded on economic, stability and security concerns.

Improving governance in Bulgaria: Evaluating the Impact of EU Conditionality through Policy and Financial Assistance

The paper examines the impact on Bulgaria’s anti-corruption performance of the interrelation between EU policy conditionality and EU financial assistance, with a focus on post-accession developments. Although the EU never formally linked EU assistance to progress on anti-corruption, the disbursement of funds has tended to peak around critical deadlines for accession progress, e.g. the signing of the accession treaty in 2005, and the expiration of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism’s (CVM) safeguard clauses in 2010. Both years also marked the lowest levels of corruption experienced by Bulgaria’s citizens. This suggests that the combined effect of EU anti- corruption conditionality and development assistance on governance in Bulgaria was positive – but temporary.

Moreover, the 2015 CVM monitoring report suggests that, eight years after EU accession, Bulgaria still faces three key governance challenges – combatting high-level corruption, building an institutional approach to anti-corruption, and judicial independence. In 2014, public experience of corruption reached its highest level since the first comparable research in 1998. The lack of anti-corruption conditionality or credible enforcement mechanisms since 2010 has seen Bulgaria backslide in the fight against corruption. The current EU approach and development assistance for anti- corruption reforms have been insufficient to put Bulgaria on a virtuous circle path to open access order (or a good governance model), and has not been able to compensate for the lack of domestic political commitment to anticorruption reform. The paper’s findings suggest that the EU and Bulgarian anti-corruption stakeholders need to find new strategies for bringing about lasting governance change.

The Impact of EU Conditionality on Corruption Control and Governance in Bosnia and Herzegovina

This paper seeks to evaluate the impact of EU policy and funds aimed at improving governance and controlling corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It examines the interrelation between EU conditionality as expressed in different policy documents and the financial assistance provided by the EU. The focus is on the period 2007-13. It tracks the way in which the EU pursues democratic conditionality in BiH, and examines cases that are deemed successes as well as those deemed failures. It also considers how conditionality relating to the provision of EU funds is affected. It evaluates conditionality in the light of BiH’s anti-corruption performance during this period. The paper draws conclusions as to the effectiveness of EU policy and financial assistance in the area of anti-corruption, with a view to informing the ongoing policy debate on how to strengthen EU leverage in improving anti-corruption efforts in aspiring member-states, particularly in a post-conflict context.

Is East-Central Europe Backsliding? EU Accession Is No “End of History”

In the textbooks on democratic transition, Central and Eastern Europe provides the model of success. Yet in Brussels concern over the politics of the new EU members has been mounting. The day after accession, when conditionality has faded, the influence of the EU vanished like a short-term anesthetic. Political parties needed to behave during accession in order to reach this highly popular objective, but once freed from these constraints, they returned to their usual ways. Now we see Central and Eastern Europe as it really is—a region that has come far but still has a way to go.