This report uses the term “organized corruption” to explain how corruption is embedded in the political economy of many countries in the region. Organized corruption is “a symbiosis between organized crime, criminal methods and high-level corruption, which creates a twisted ecosystem that enriches and protects those with access to power.”
Organized corruption is not only about systemic illicit financial gains and undue influence in decision-making, but also about the systemic purchase and influence of social support to gain or maintain political and economic power.
Organized corruption is particularly evident in the political context of transitions to democracy, when key parts of the economy are in the public domain, as is the case in the Western Balkans. In this context, control of politics and control of the economy are linked. Being in power means controlling the strings of public money.
Political parties use political power to gain economic influence through control of public finances and public officials. Political victory allows state funds and enterprises to be used for patronage purposes and to obtain financial, political and social advantages. In such an environment, elections are often a winner-take-all race, not only for political parties but also for those who benefit from patronage. It follows that those who benefit from power have an interest in financing political parties and elections.
The webinar will present the main findings of the report entitled “Organized corruption: political financing in the Western Balkans”.