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Making Democracy Deliver in the Western Balkans
In 2018 the EU, NATO and the countries from the Western Balkans have a unique chance to reinvigorate the Euro Atlantic perspective of the region. The European Commission has rightly prioritized the rule of law and security, including hybrid threats, in its new Enlargement Strategy. The accession of Montenegro to NATO and the opening up of EU accession prospects for Serbia and Montenegro have been a strong signal for political engagement with the Western Balkans. more »
The Russian Economic Influence in the Western Balkans
The Western Balkans have become one of the regions, in which Russia has increasingly sought to (re)assert its presence in the past decade. In attempt to improve the understanding of the impact of the interplay between existing governance gaps and the inflow of authoritarian capital in the region, the Center for the Study of Democracy developed an assessment of the Russian economic footprint in Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. more »
The Bulgarian Energy Sector until 2050
The Bulgarian government has been successful in reaching the 2020 target of at least 16% of the energy consumption of the country to come from renewable energy sources (RES). Expanding the share of the RES in the country’s power generation to the levels ensuring more than 90% decarbonisation of the electricity sector, consistent with the EU policy framework, would be a much greater challenge with a far-reaching impact on the Bulgarian nuclear and coal policies. more »
Countering Radicalisation and Terrorist Threats
In the last decade, countering radicalisation that turns to terrorism has become an issue of particular concern for many European governments. It has reached new dramatic dimensions with the violent attacks in Paris from 2015. The current situation in Syria and Iraq and the emergence of the so-called Islamic State have led to new security threats especially concerning EU citizens joining the ranks of ISIS as foreign fighters. more »
New Measures to Counter Russian Influence Adopt the Recommendations of the Kremlin Playbook Report
Ten bipartisan US Senators tabled comprehensive Russia sanctions legislation, the Countering Russian Hostilities Act of 2017, which aims to introduce comprehensive sanctions on Russia for their cyber intrusions, aggression and destabilizing activities in the US and in Europe. The proposed legislation has recognized some of the key findings and policy recommendations from the recent report by CSD and CSIS The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence in Central and Eastern Europe including that Russia had tried to exert influence in Europe by sowing “distrust in democratic institutions” and “engaging in well-documented corruption practices” to increase Russian influence in European countries. more »
Russian Influence in Central and Eastern Europe
The impact of the Russian influence has been felt across most of Central and Eastern Europe. After 2008 the Russian leadership has aggressively deployed its resource-based resurgent economic power in combination with old time security networks and skilful use of traditional soft power appeal to exploit and further strategic vulnerabilities in the region with the goal of undermining the EU cohesion and the strength of the Transatlantic relations. These are some of the conclusions reached by our 16-month study of the Kremlin Playbook trying to understand Russian involvement in the politics and economics of Central and Eastern Europe. more »
State Capture Unplugged
For a number of years, CSD’s Corruption Monitoring System has indicated that administrative corruption in Bulgaria shows little signs of abating. The same applies to an even more potent form of corruption – state capture. These two manifestations are closely linked because they represent different facets of the same phenomenon: corruption behavior. Rampant administrative corruption in the country is indicative not only of violations by public officials in their dealings with business and members of the public. Such a situation is exacerbated by high levels of political corruption – that is, high prevalence of corrupt transactions perpetrated by management level public officials and elected politicians. more »
Strengthening Resilience to Corruption
Systemic corruption remains a problem in Southeast Europe in 2016, with many of the countries exhibiting at least some characteristics of state capture. Political corruption has replaced petty bribery as the dominant concern of national and international reformists and as one of the leading causes for most social and economic damage. The migration crisis, the economic stagnation, and the Russia-EU geopolitical stand-off have shown the need to reinvigorate the European Union’s engagement with the region. more »
Media (In)dependence in Bulgaria
The role of Bulgarian media in public life came under scrutiny after several media outlets were used as an instrument for triggering political crises and for political engineering (2013-2014). At that time, the Bulgarian media market was experiencing the impact of two negative trends. On the one hand, the economic crisis of 2009-2013 had cut advertising revenues by half. On the other, the old models of media financing were diminished by the use of digital technologies and the explosive growth of social networks and mobile communications. more »
Financing of Organised Crime
The financing of organised crime is a horizontal issue for all criminal markets, although it rarely falls in the focus of law enforcement agencies. Accessing capital is an important constraint for criminals when they seek to become big players in illicit markets for goods and services. Enhancing the knowledge of the financing of organised crime is an indispensable component of more effective and smarter approaches to prevention and investigation. more »

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