Central Europe Activ

Romania could follow Bulgaria by having millions of euros in EU funding frozen after the bloc’s executive issued a critical report Thursday, Feb. 12, suggesting Bucharest was not doing enough to fight corruption – reports the Deutsche Welle.

Although more and more high-level corruption is revealed in Romania, one cannot help the feeling that it is always the new government that finds something against its opponents. I still wonder how such and embedded social problem like corruption can be resolved through external pressure.

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  1. When it comes to the carrot and the stick approach, I believe more in the stick, so to say. And when it comes to changes in political culture, it’s quite often they occur via steady, external pressure towards democratization or other types of changes.

  2. In Romania, I think internal pressure is needed. While low level corruption does not seem that critical in recent years it is indeed high level corruption which delays further development. But even though if investigative journalists discover high level corruption, including well known government or parliament members the populations keeps being idle instead of making pressure.

    Such a thing would be inamaginable in western europe, and that is one of the main differences I think. Romanias population accepts this style of government, thus it happens.

  3. What Transparency International survey show, and what I have learned from people who try to invest or travel Romania, low level corruption is extremely embedded. However, they also say that it is more managable than a notionally lower level of Hungarian corruption because it is more predictable. I am very sceptical about changing social habits with external pressure.

  4. Hi Daniel,

    low level corruption matterns in Romania – that’s for sure. On the other hand, I visit Romania for 10 years now, live here permanently since 6 month and had no single corruption incident since I moved. I work for a an SME with foreign capital, we have offices in two cites, and we neither had any corruption incidents so far.

    The low level corruption from Romania I am familiar with is rather getting favours when paying bribe, instead of not getting what you want if you not pay. In important exception of course is the health system. Indeed, most Romanians will tell you that you have necessarily to pay bribe there, on the other hand, if you ask them when they did it the last time they often don’t know ;-)

    When leaving the uncertain sphere of personal opinions and experiences I can refer to some statistical analysis in this regard that I have done last year:

    As far as trackable with available data I could not find the slightest correlation between public administration and local economic performance in Romania (http://www.romania-central.com/economy-of-romania/4-assessment-of-the-romanian-economy/42-statistical-analysis-of-the-business-environment/422-test-institutions-in-romania/) while regional disparities in this regard could be well explained on a high significance by hard facts like infrastructure and education.

    I performed such test also with the TI index for the CEECs without finding any intersting connection between variables. It looked better for the kaufmann/Governance matters index, but the significance level was inacceptable.
    Hence, I tend to consider the TI index as not valid.

    However, I think we agree strongly, that internal pressure will be needed to change things in Romania.

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