The MAXCAP Working Paper No. 28 “Compliance with the European Union’s Anti-Corruption Conditions in the ‘Cooperation and Verification Mechanism’: Why Is Romania Better than Bulgaria?” by Ulrich Sedelmeier and Corina Lacatus has been published. You can download the Working Paper here.
The Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) is a novel attempt by the European Union (EU) to compensate for the loss of sanctioning power against non-compliance after a state has joined the EU. The CVM extends monitoring after accession, but it cannot sanction non-compliance. Yet this paper suggests that it may nonetheless have an impact on compliance. The authors code the CVM reports’ assessment of compliance with its recommendations for the fight against corruption in Romania and Bulgaria. The results suggest that compliance in Romania has become surprisingly good. Fieldwork in Romania provides evidence that these developments are due to institution-building: the creation of strong domestic institutions has created a powerful – yet fragile – institutional base for the fight against corruption. The main impact of the CVM has been as an international social constraint on efforts to obstruct these efforts, and as a focal point for societal mobilization. At the same time, compliance with the CVM does not directly translate into improvements of corruption in practice. While compliance with the CVM can create more favorable conditions for the improvement of corruption control, such improvements in practice require a central role of domestic civil society actors.
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