Speeding up Moldova’s EU integration – Lessons learned from Croatia

1-policy-brief-coperta-1-ok - CopyPolicy Memo 54, July 2014, Authors: Visnja Samardzija, Hrvoje Butkovic.

Building closer ties with the European Union requires a special focus on fighting corruption, the center piece of EU’s conditionality.  According to Freedom House indicators of national democratic governance, where the ratings are based on a scale of 1 (the lowest) to 7 (the highest level of democratic progress), Moldova was ranked with 5.75, emphasizing the need to develop and strengthen the anti corruption policy in order to recognize emerging corruption threats.

The current study aims to make a critical assessment of the progress and the challenges which Moldova is facing in terms of combating corruption, taking into consideration the experiences of Croatia during the EU accession process in this particular area.  Croatia’s integration experience in areas such as institution building, the anti-corruption legal framework, independence of the judiciary or financing political areas is considered as being very relevant for Republic of Moldova, as it took place in a period in which corruption was intensively tackled, being confronted with the strengthened EU conditionality.

In Moldova, like in Croatia, the fight against corruption is being driven to a great extent by international actors, EU accession having a key role in establishing an institutional legal framework in this field.

Although important progress has been achieved in Moldova, the study points to key aspects which must be further improved: increasing the number of high ranking public officials prosecuted for corruption in Moldova, which is currently still very low, increasing investigations on the financing of political parties (now one of Moldova’s weakest element in its anti corruption efforts), increasing the role of Moldovan civil society in drafting, monitoring and implementing anti corruption legislation or increasing transparency in key sectors such as declaration of income and assets or public procurements.

The association agreement and visa liberalisation represented huge incentives for Moldova. As such, the authors of the study consider it is of crucial importance that the EU keeps the momentum with some new incentives.

The study “Speeding up Moldova’s EU integration process through progress in the field of anticorruption – lessons learned from Croatia” is prepared by the researchers from the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) from Croatia within the project “EU Moldova Think Tank Dialogue” developed by the Romanian Centre for European Policies (CRPE). The project has been financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania and the UNDP Bratislava.