U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


Please provide an overview of corruption and anti-corruption in the Western Balkans and Turkey


In Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey powerful patronage networks have infiltrated and consolidated their control of state institutions. These networks wield influence in many fundamental judiciary, law enforcement and anti-corruption institutions. As a result, politically independent and effective oversight and prosecution mechanisms can be absent, and corrupt officials and organised criminals can occasionally engage in acts of corruption with impunity. Overall, the region has lost momentum, neither moving forward nor regressing. There may be two exceptions to this, however. First, North Macedonia, which has elected a government that has signaled increased willingness to make headway against corruption. Second, Turkey, where the remnants of a political culture conducive to accountable governance is eroding.


  1. Background
  2. Regional corruption trends
  3. Country analyses
    1. Albania
    2. Bosnia and Herzegovina
    3. Kosovo
    4. Montenegro
    5. North Macedonia
    6. Serbia
    7. Turkey

4. Reference

Main points

  • In all Western Balkan countries there are pervasive elements of neopatrimonialism.
  • Every country assessed lacks resilience to withstand attempts at state capture by patronage networks.
  • All the Western Balkan states have witnessed large-scale public protests in 2019 over corruption issues.
  • In Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia the overall situation in terms of corruption appears to be stuck at a status quo. In North Macedonia, recent years have seen a number of positive developments.
  • The challenge for North Macedonia is to maintain the momentum in its fight against corruption in the midst of political


Mathias Bak, [email protected]


Nieves Zuniga, Transparency International

David Jackson, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre




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