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Fight against corruption – a challenge for all Western Balkan countries

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Although the European integration of the Western Balkans region has been going on for more than two decades, corruption still permeates all spheres of the region’s societies, it was said at the opening of the regional conference “Good Governance and fight against corruption in South-Eastern Europe at the time of the crisis”. Geopolitical uncertainty”, organized within the SELDI network.

EU Ambassador to Serbia Emmanuelle Giaufret stressed that the fight against corruption is a key issue for citizens, for businesses and for the EU. He stressed that the rule of law and the fight against corruption are at the heart of the EU accession process.

Speaking about Serbia, he highlighted that Serbia has been timid in implementing its anti-corruption strategy and in making progress on anti-corruption commitments, but it can bring huge change if it focuses on a few well-identified priorities.

“We encourage Serbia to adopt a new national strategy with a credible and budgeted action plan, and to define its priorities in this area, both in terms of prevention and repression of corruption. To this end, Serbia must focus on achieving the provisional criteria of chapters 23 and 24 and on implementing the recommendations of international bodies that closely monitor this area, first and foremost those of GRECO,” Giaufret said.

According to him, the EU wants Serbia to be part of the EU and believes that we are stronger together in this complex geopolitical reality. “It will continue to support Serbia with pre-accession funds to fight corruption, as well as Serbian civil society in its role of monitoring, reporting and working towards reforms in this area,” Giaufret said.

Christophe CollineAmbassador of the United States of America to Serbia, stressed that the United States and the EU have a similar position on the importance of the fight against corruption in this region.

According to Hill, the best way to protect democracies and fight corruption is to educate citizens on how to monitor and report corruption.

The fight against corruption is not a fight against good and bad people, it is a fight against weak institutions. Democracies cannot succeed without fighting corruption,” Hill said.

According to him, the closer countries in the region come to European and American standards in this area, the clearer it will be that the fight against corruption is not lost.

Deputy Head of Unit D1 (Western Balkans and Regional Strategy) at DG NEAD Anna Vézyroglou stressed at the conference that the fight against corruption and the fight for human rights are interconnected.

She considered that the EU actively supports universal human rights, which includes the fight against corruption, but also other reforms such as public administration reform. According to Vezyroglou, the European Union pays great attention to these issues in the Western Balkans region.

The program director of the Center for Contemporary Politics (CCP), one of the conference organizers, Nemanja Todorović Štiplija, said the high level of corruption in the region leads to a better known state – trapped.

He explained that the fight against corruption and the strengthening of existing mechanisms in this area are at the center of the project implemented by 15 civil society organizations in the region for five years.

Director of the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation and SELDI Coordinator Aleksandar Krzalovski highlighted that the SELDI network, with the help of the EU, has brought together for more than a decade the most important civil society in the Western Balkans, specialized in the fight against corruption.

According to past experience, Kržalovski said that European integration is one of the main drivers of the fight against corruption in the region, but that the example of Serbia and Montenegro showed that when negotiations are found in an impasse, the political will to fight against corruption.

This article was published as part of the project “Civil society for good governance and the fight against corruption in South-Eastern Europe: Strengthening monitoring, advocacy and awareness-raising capacities (SELDI)” funded by the Union European.

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