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Money and politics – linking EU funds and political parties

The procurement market can go up to a quarter of the GDP in some European countries. With these high figures, the procurement processes become a target for political parties and affiliated companies that are interested to participate to the tenders and get as many of them. Therefore, a part of the allocation and procurement procedures may be prone to clientelism and political bias, as well as fraud and therefore parties may indirectly use them to finance or promote their campaigns. More often, companies close to parties seem to have a steady strike of chance in winning the procurement procedures. Some of the most significant sectors where this kind of behaviour may be found is infrastructure and buildings, but such situations may also occur in other areas, such as IT or medical services.

The scope of the project is to analyse the link between the distribution of public funds, procurement procedures, as well as preferential connections with political affiliated companies that receive public funds and illegal/abusive use of money in politics, Although party clientelism is a recurrent topic all over the world, the number of reports published on the subject is rather low. EFOR has already published several reports unveiling the high level of political clientelism in the national funds (Reserve Fund, Local Development National Fund etc) and the rather arbitrary distribution of more than 1.5 billion Euros in the past four years.

National funds are preferred by politicians as indirect financing mechanisms for the parties and the electoral campaigns, due to the fact that there are practically no external control mechanisms and the criminal penalties as much softer than the ones for misusing European funds. Moreover, as a recent report from the Court of Accounts shows, much of these money have been distributed and spent without any clear rules and in a totally transparent manner.

Within the project we will:

  • research and publish a report about potential links between allocation of funds, procurement and political parties
  • organize an international conference in 7-8 September 2017, in Bucharest with more than 60 participants in order to launch the report and set-up a list of potential indicators of clientelism. We aim to invite participants from countries such as: Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia, Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Latvia, United Kingdom, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia. An important category of speakers are those from the neighbouring countries, who face similar issues to Romania.

This project is supported by the European Union Programme Hercule III (2014-2020). This programme is implemented by the European Commission. It was established to promote activities to combat fraud affecting the EU’s financial interests, including cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting (for more information see

This notice reflects the author’s view and the European Commission (OLAF) is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

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