Building a constituency for rule of law. Lessons from the Romanian anti-corruption drive

Policy Recommendations

  1. Do not trade long-term sustainability (accountability, due democratic process, stakeholder negotiation) for short-term efficiency. Yet, short-term results and investment in drivers of change are necessary to build up the credibility of the process. Striking the golden mean is painstaking, but rewarding.
  2. Hold out credible reward for performance (EU accession) and build a rule of law constituency (invest in independent media, civil society organisations, public communication). Empower them to carry the flag and be domestic agents of change. Beware of window-dressing reformers using the accession process for their own ends.
  3. Treat rule of law, anti-corruption and good governance as cross-cutting issues to be incorporated and monitored in every chapter of negotiation and partnership with the EU; ensure stakeholder participation up and down the decision-making process; maintain focus on values, not just ticking boxes.

GLOBSEC Vulnerability Index 2021

Romania scores higher than other regional countries in terms of resilience to foreign interference, mainly thanks to its firm pro-Western orientation. The country’s primary vulnerabilities remain internal: elite capture by groups of interests that influence the political and social agenda, media ownership by corrupt businessmen and politicians, a drift toward social conservatism, etc. align with the interests of Moscow and Beijing to weaken the Euro-Atlantic alliance and create potential opportunities for malign influence.

GlobalFocus Center and its regional partner Globsec have published the Vulnerability Index, an analysis of eight countries in Central-Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans (Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia), with scores ranging from 0 (most resilient), to 100 (least resilient). Romania scores 29, equal to Czechia, whereas Serbia scores highest (55), closely followed by Hungary and Montenegro (44).

Voices of Central Eastern Europe. Romania Country Report

GlobalFocus Center partnered again last year with Globsec (Bratislava) for the fifth edition of GLOBSEC Trends 2020, assessing current perceptions in Romania towards a wide range of issues: from Covid-19 health crisis, all the way to the nature of relations Romania entertains with international powers like US, Russia or China.
As disinformation became more prevalent during the pandemic, a certain lack of coherent policies addressing it became more visible. We found out that 39% of Romanians are believing in one or more Covid-19 related conspiracies. We have also found out that only 26% of the Romanians are believing to be represented by the traditional political elites*.

Monitoring Facebook during the Presidential Elections – Romania, November 2019

Between 1 – 24 November 2019, GlobalFocus Center, in cooperation with MEMO 98, monitored 102 public Facebook accounts of political parties, candidates, politicians, media, and other influential actors involved in the presidential election. Analysis observed 168 posts dedicated to disinformation in relation to the presidential elections by various accounts, especially by media and influencers.

Read the report in PDF format.