Edited by Barney Warf
Chapter 10: Corruption in East Central Europe: has EU membership helped?
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.
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