In the context of Eastern Europe, this chapter discusses whether joining the European Union (EU) has helped or hindered the growth of corruption in post-communist states. Charges of misusing EU subsidies have been leveled in countries such as Croatia and the Czech Republic. The author outlines the legacy of corruption during the dark days of Soviet occupation, such as clientelistic political structures under the nomenclatura system, which persisted in the form of shadowy networks that hampered democratic reforms in the region. The author also discusses new forms that have arisen in the post-accession era such as transnational criminal groups and the opportunities for graft embedded in the transition to privatization. Adherence to the EU’s legal rules was often more evident on paper than in practice. Corruption varies throughout the region: in addition to the east-west divide that distinguishes the region from low-corruption countries in Western Europe, there is also a north-south divide that places the continent’s most corrupt states in the Balkans, where state capture by corrupt officials is evident.
Agnes Batory, Andrew Cartwright and Diane Stone
In this introductory chapter to the volume, the authors examine on the one hand the concepts of policy transfer and policy diffusion and, on the other, the concept of policy failure and success within the general context of Europeanization in Central and Eastern Europe. They invite contributors to address two main sets of questions: To what degree was the policy/institution/idea under consideration transferred intact or modified? And did the resulting policy or institution come to be viewed as a success or failure, or somewhere in between? The chapters that follow highlight that policy ‘transfer’ processes are often non-linear and fuzzy and sometimes counter-intuitive, and point to the central importance of the views, interests and constellations of the domestic actors that filter and interpret international influences. In this sense, the CEE experience in the years since accession is as much about active and sometimes strategic policy imports and policy distortion and perhaps less about simple receipt and incorporation of external models.