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Corruption in the Western Balkans Focus of Upcoming Helsinki Commission Briefing

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following briefing:

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY
Corruption as a Brake on Balkan Recovery

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
2:00 p.m.
Cannon House Office Building
Room 210

Live Webcast: www.facebook.com/HelsinkiCommission

As the countries of the Western Balkans continue to seek the integration that promises stability and prosperity, the inability to genuinely confront and overcome official corruption through good governance measures has undoubtedly slowed their progress. Foreign investment—vital to improved economic performance—is discouraged by a business climate characterized by weak adherence to the rule of law.  As a result, the countries of the region are witnessing a “brain drain” as the most talented and well-educated leave.  They also remain vulnerable to malign foreign investors, including Russia, that pursue political influence rather than profits.

Current political leaders have little incentive to make further democratic changes that could lead to their removal from power; they instead rely on lingering nationalist sentiments to continue benefiting from the corrupt practices they tolerate.

At this Helsinki Commission briefing, experts from Serbia, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina will analyze the gaps in governance that facilitate the inflow of “corrosive capital” and subsequent foreign meddling in the Western Balkans, and encourage an exodus of the best and brightest from the region. Panelists also will suggest specific ways to strengthen economic resiliency, democratic transition, and the possibilities for integration.

Panelists scheduled to participate include:

  • Martina Hrvolova, Program Officer for Europe and Eurasia, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)
  • Igor Novakovic, Research Director, International and Security Affairs Centre (ISAC) in Serbia
  • Misha Popovikj, Project Coordinator – Researcher, Institute for Democracy Societas Civilis Skopje (IDSCS) in North Macedonia
  • Igor Stojanovic, Researcher with the Center for Civic Initiatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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