Research Findings: EU Anti-Corruption Policy in Moldova
“EU external anti-corruption promotion. A case study on the Republic of Moldova” by Mihai-Razvan Corman and Eliana Coraci
The EurasiaLab Fellows
Mihai-Razvan Corman and Eliana Coraci are members and research fellows of the Moldovan-German Forum, a Chisinau-based non-governmental organisation whose aim is to enhance the European integration process in the Republic of Moldova. Mihai is a PhD Researcher at Ghent University and an Independent Consultant for the European Commission and the Institute of European Democrats, a think tank funded by the European Parliament. Eliana is a researcher and analyst with expertise on disinformation in the Eastern Partnership, currently working for NATO HQ in Brussels.
Project Description and Methods
The research project aimed to identify the underlying factors that favour EU anti-corruption policy, focusing on the EU’s legal competences and instruments aimed at tackling corruption in Moldova. The project rests on the observation that Moldova is one of the most corrupt countries in the world which hinders both its internal development as well as its further approximation to the EU.
The project offers new policy-relevant findings, contributing to rethinking and reprioritising EU anti-corruption promotion. The researchers firstly conducted several interviews with national actors, such as the Government of the Republic of Moldova and civil society actors, and with representatives of different EU bodies, such as the Council of Europe and the EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova.
In the second part of the project, the findings were used to analyse EU anti-corruption measures in two policy areas: The first one dealt with policies against fraud for the protection of the EU’s financial interests, and the second policy field consisted of measures against illegal party funding. z
While the EU seems to have a variety of legally binding measures against fraud for the protection of the EU’s financial interests, it seems to have no instruments in the policy area of illegal party funding, which is a politically highly sensitive area in the country.
The project results show that the EU does not have a consolidated and comprehensive anti-corruption legal framework vis-à-vis Moldova. EU anti-corruption legal instruments are rather scattered across various frameworks and areas. As evidenced by the measures against fraud for the protection of the EU’s financial interests, EU’s anti-corruption capability is strong in areas where the scope of EU legal competences and of the EU acquis is wide: both the definition of corruption and the anti-corruption instruments in the EU-Moldova Association Agreement derived from the EU acquis communautaire. By contrast, as shown in the case of political party funding, EU anti-corruption capability is weak in areas where there are scarce EU legal competences, and the EU acquis is underdeveloped. In the EU internal context, political party funding rules resemble a patchwork carpet. In the absence of a common approach at EU level, member states define their own rules. These findings call upon the EU to focus primarily on those areas in which it can have the biggest impact.
The project concludes that the EU should not raise unjustified expectations in policy fields in which it has neither the required instruments nor the expertise. In policy areas, in which the EU acquis is underdeveloped, the EU should rather cooperate more closely with norm-based international organisations, such as the Council of Europe, that do have long-standing experience and expertise.
You can learn more about Mihai’s and Eliana’s research project on the IEP’s “Eurasia on the Move” podcast episode #3: Moldova.
Furthermore, the fellows have created a podcast series consisting of five episodes, in which they discuss EU efforts against corruption in the Republic of Moldova.
The first episode gives an overview on corruption in the Republic of Moldova.
The second episode that deals with key external anti-corruption actors in the Republic of Moldova.
The third episode discusses which legally binding tools the EU has in order to achieve its anti-corruption objectives in the Republic of Moldova.
In the fourth episode, the fellows discuss political party funding and the changing of the electoral system in Moldova.
The last podcast episode summarises the project’s research results and presents the fellows’ policy recommendations.