A critical assessment of the transformative power of EU reforms on reducing corruption in the Balkans


KURTOĞLU ESKİŞAR G. M., KOMSUOĞLU ÇITIPITIOĞLU A.

SOUTHEAST EUROPEAN AND BLACK SEA STUDIES, vol.15, no.3, pp.301-326, 2015 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683857.2015.1015315
  • Journal Name: SOUTHEAST EUROPEAN AND BLACK SEA STUDIES
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.301-326
  • Keywords: corruption, Balkans, EU, democratization, transformative power, DEMOCRATIZATION, DEMOCRACY, CULTURE, LIMITS
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

The widespread existence of corruption in the Balkans has been subject to numerous studies so far, many of which underline its cultural underpinnings. While valuable, they do not explain why the region has generally failed to eradicate such activities despite receiving extensive external assistance to fight corruption and promote democratization in recent years. We therefore explore the possibility that the ongoing corruption in the Balkans is linked to foreign assistance for democratization. Although further research is necessary to draw firm conclusions, we suggest that there are at least two ways in which foreign assistance can be related to corruption in the region. First, foreign financial assistance in polities where judicial control is weak or nonexistent may lead to predatory behaviour by the elites, who treat them as spoils that are readily available and expendable for their own gains. Second, foreign assistance to combat corruption may elevate public expectations and alter their perceptions, and thus make it difficult to rely on global surveys and indices that measure corruption levels. On a broader level, these arguments can help to rule out the possibility that external assistance for democratization efforts and corruption are irrelevant, and can further promote future research dedicated to explore the nature of their relationship.