Fighting corruption in Croatia with the prospect of European Union membership : conditionality and soft aquis communautaire ; lessons learned from the previous enlargements to Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania

Hardy, Angélique


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Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: Hertie School of Governance
Schriftenreihe: Working papers // Hertie School of Governance
Bandnummer: 52
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2010
Publikationsdatum: 22.01.2013
Originalveröffentlichung: (2010)
SWD-Schlagwörter: Kroatien , Korruption , Bekämpfung , Hochschulschrift
DDC-Sachgruppe: Politik
BK - Basisklassifikation: 89.73 (Europapolitik, Europäische Union), 89.49 (Innere Beziehungen des Staates: Sonstiges), 15.70 (Balkanstaaten)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.6 Politik und Friedensforschung

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

Lately Croatian officials have received positive signs with regard to the progress of their country towards accession. However, in order to gain membership, Croatia still needs to fulfil a number of conditions. As with the Candidate countries of the two previous enlargements, Croatia is subject to the EU pre-accession conditionality method. This method is considered to be among the most successful foreign policy instruments the EU has implemented so far. During the last two enlargement processes, it proved itself to be able to align the post-communist candidate countries with the EU acquis communautaire. However EU conditionality has not been exempt from criticisms, many of them being related to its post-accession sustainability. The strength of the instrument lies primarily in the conditional membership incentive. Hence doubts arose with regard to the compliance of the new Member States with the EU acquis once the enlargement would be effective and the membership lever would disappear. Studies on post-accession compliance suggest that the dreaded ‘eastern problem’ remains rather theoretical and has not been observed in practice. Nevertheless in specific areas resting on the EU soft acquis, such as the fight against corruption, the ‘eastern problem’ actually occurred. However, empirical evidence backed up by international organisations’ reports demonstrated that the fight against corruption has experienced some backsliding in Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria soon after their integration within the EU. The results of a comparison of the Slovene, Romanian and Bulgarian experiences advocate for a distinction between hard acquis and soft acquis since they do not produce the same degree of postaccession compliance from the Member States. Having confronted the state of corruption in Croatia and the overall environment that underlies domestic corruption in the Slovenian, Bulgarian and Romanian experiences, this thesis establishes that a ‘Croatian problem’ similar to the ‘eastern problem’ is likely to occur as things stand at the present. Even if fighting corruption remains mostly under the scope of the Member States competences, the EU can have a substantial impact on the persistence of anti-corruption measures in Croatia and elsewhere if the organisation adjusts its current approach.

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