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Western Balkans and Turkey: Citizen engagement for public integrity (CEPI)

Mass protests against violence, manipulated media and political corruption in Belgrade, Serbia. Photo: Kristijana23 / Shutterstock

What's at stake?

Corruption and weak rule of law pose a significant challenge to political, social and economic progress, and cause human and civil rights violations in the Western Balkans and Turkey. These issues also obstruct the EU integration process.

Anti-corruption and law enforcement efforts have long been hindered by private interests capturing decision-making processes and bodies, justice systems that support rather than punish corruption, and lack of integrity and political will among those in power. The common good is often ignored.

This undermines trust in government and institutions, erodes democratic governance and stifles economic growth. It also perpetuates inequality by diverting resources meant for public services and essential infrastructure projects into the pockets of the few – which disproportionally affects marginalised communities.

In addition, shrinking space for civil society, independent media and ordinary people’s voices, together with limited access to information, contribute to a continuing sense of disillusionment and inability to influence change among citizens. Reduced oversight by civil society organisations (CSOs), journalists and citizens also limits accountability for public officials and institutions, which are further declining in integrity and independence. This contributes to the fact that law enforcement agencies, prosecution and courts can neither provide functional checks and balances nor equal access to justice.

What we're doing about it

To maintain public demand for accountability and help uphold the rule of law in a setting where the impartiality of the police, prosecution and judiciary is compromised, civil society, citizens and independent media must work together more closely.

Transparency International Secretariat (TI-S) and our national chapters and partners have joined forces to implement the EU-supported project, Citizen Engagement for Public Integrity (CEPI) in the Western Balkans and Turkey, to strengthen the rule of law and address public integrity deficiencies. The project takes place in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo1, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.

Our approach

Through CEPI, we are taking a multifaceted approach to fighting corruption, strengthening the rule of law and activating civic space by:

  • Focusing on evidence-based anti-corruption policy-making and implementation, supported by our National Integrity System (NIS) assessments of the institutional environment and dynamics that enable corruption. This involves conducting in-depth assessments to identify weaknesses in governance and areas of vulnerability to corruption, and using this knowledge to inform policy recommendations and advocacy efforts.
  • Raising awareness and supporting journalists through a database of corruption cases that have significant social impact. It aims to highlight corruption and its consequences as well as success stories of how citizen-led initiatives contributed to the change.
  • Strengthening CSOs, and local groups and initiatives by empowering them. This is achieved through capacity-building training, mentorship opportunities, consultations, and resources to advocate effectively for anti-corruption measures and engage with decision-makers.
  • Delivering advocacy campaigns through our national chapters and partners, in coordination with CSOs and local groups.

Do you know of any corruption cases with social impact that should be included in our new database? Or are you a journalist, civil society member or activist looking to use our database?

Submit your case and get in touch here