Category Archives: Eastern Europe

Improving Corporate Governance in Ukraine’s State-Owned Enterprises

On May 1, 2016, the law, On Introduction of Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Regarding Protection of Investors’ Rights (No. 289-VIII), came into effect. It introduced a number of new aspects to Ukrainian corporate law including the right to shareholder derivative actions, direct payment of dividends to shareholders, and –perhaps the most relevant to reducing corruption and privatizing state owned enterprises– the establishment of independent directors.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #50: Marc Schleifer on Democratic Trends in Europe, Eurasia, and South Asia

Podcast guest Marc Schleifer

CIPE Regional Director for Europe, Eurasia, and South Asia Marc Schleifer works on democracy projects in vastly different parts of the globe. On today’s episode of the Democracy that Delivers podcast he discusses the trends that are affecting the health and development of democracy in his areas of focus, including the attitudes and outlooks of the citizens in each region.

Schleifer describes his early interest in social issues and how his fascination with Russia led to eight years living in the country working in law and international development (and his brief stint as a rock musician). His recollections from this time, including the exciting and chaotic mood in pre-Putin Russia, contrast sharply with his assessment of Russia both today and in the near future. He also talks about the rise in populist sentiment in many parts of the world and challenges us to avoid knee-jerk reactions and look at the political and economic developments behind it.

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Private Sector in Ukraine Makes Strides Toward Curbing Corruption

ukraine-conference

When one thinks about Ukraine in the context of corruption, the picture typically does not look rosy. The headlines about corrupt oligarchs and continued graft easily come to mind – including recent revelations about the riches disclosed by top officials in their asset declarations. This wealth stands in stark contrast with the financial condition of most ordinary Ukrainians, causing public outcry. Not surprisingly, Ukraine was ranked 130th out of 167 in the latest Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

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Georgia’s Economic Policy Advocacy Coalition Marks One Year of Success

Participants at the EPAC G4G anniversary event in September 2016. Photo courtesy of the G4G facebook page.

Participants at the EPAC G4G anniversary event in September 2016.
Photo courtesy of the G4G facebook page.

The 2008 Rose Revolution, which marked Georgia’s turn down a more democratic, market-based and Western-oriented path, kicked off a process of robust reforms and aggressive moves headed by then-President Mikheil Saakashvili to tackle the endemic corruption that had long hampered the country’s economic development. The turn was affirmed in 2014 when Georgia signed the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) and Association Agreement with the European Union (EU), signaling a commitment to enact further reforms and open its markets to Europe – a step that Georgians envision as eventually leading to EU membership.

However, despite the strong anti-corruption measures enacted after 2008, concerns about the rule of law and quality of governance also arose during that period. While there was not necessarily a threat of reforms being derailed, there were legitimate questions as to how representative the process was under the then-ruling government. Those trends led (in part) to the defeat of Saakashvili’s party in parliamentary elections in 2012, followed by the defeat of the presidential candidate from his party the following year. The business community had generally been in favor of many of the changes enacted under Saakashvili—though small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) did not always have a seat at the table.. With the change in government came some concerns that the economic reform trajectory could be reversed.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #39: András Lőke on the State of Democracy in Hungary

andras-loke

Podcast guest Andras Loke

This week on the Democracy that Delivers podcast, President of Transparency International Hungary, András Lőke, discusses the state of democracy in Hungary and the hard work it takes to maintain that system over time. He also discusses the cultural differences between countries in Central Europe and how culture can influence democratic development. Lőke is also founder and editor-in-chief of www.Ittlakunk.hu, a group of websites covering 23 Budapest neighborhoods that receives 800,000 unique visitors a month. He speaks about the  government’s influence on the media. Lőke also talks about how corruption undermines democracy and the “economy within the economy” that institutionalizes corruption in Hungary.

Lőke recently spoke at the conference The Illiberal Turn?: Reasserting Democratic Values in Central and Eastern Europe. The conference was co-hosted by CIPE with the Atlantic Council, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. You can conference presentations and panel discussions on the Atlantic Council website.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #33: Camelia Bulat and Carmen Stanila on Helping Business Associations Around the World with Policymaking and Advocacy

Podcast guests Carmen Stanila (far left) and Camelia Bulat (second right) with hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson

Podcast guests Carmen Stanila (far left) and Camelia Bulat (second right) with hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson

In this week’s Democracy That Delivers podcast, CIPE consultants Camelia Bulat and Carmen Stanila talk about working with the private sector and business associations on public policy development and advocacy. They discuss their early work in Romania and later in the Balkans, Moldova, and the Caucuses, and the challenges of managing citizen expectations when countries transition to democratic, free market systems. Bulat and Stanila also talk about how they were able to transfer early lessons learned in Romania to projects elsewhere, and the surprising similarity between the issues and priorities facing business associations all over the world.

Ukraine’s Future Tied to Strengthening Public Governance

Francis Fukuyama giving a lecture about case study methodology at the Leadership Academy for Development in Ukraine

Francis Fukuyama giving a lecture about case study methodology at the Leadership Academy for Development in Ukraine.

Ukraine is a resource rich country, an entrepreneurial country, a country filled with talented individuals who work hard for their families, but why do so many Ukrainian people live in poverty? The answer, perhaps, is public governance, or more precisely, a lack thereof.

To be clear, allow us first to define the words “public governance,” as we understand them. Simply put, public governance is the relationship of power among the government, civil society, and the market. Given the strong skepticism concerning democracy in nations near Ukraine, without improvement in the standard of living of Ukrainians, the Ukrainian people may soon lose their excitement about their own bustling and fledgling democracy. In short, Ukraine’s democracy must begin to deliver tangible benefits to its citizens.

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