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Judicial reforms, anti-corruption and prospects for business in Romania and Ukraine

Judicial reforms, anti-corruption and prospects for business in Romania and Ukraine

Risk Advisory is hosting a briefing on Wednesday 25 April. We will be joined by guest speaker and regional expert Radu Magdin. A podcast will be made available to those unable to attend.

We will explore recent developments in the fight against corruption in Romania and Ukraine and the implications on the business climate of these countries and the wider regional economy. The briefing is aimed at foreign investors already present in these countries or considering entering these markets.

Romania, one of the larger markets in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the fastest growing EU economy last year, has recently been scrutinised by the Council of Europe (CoE). In December 2017, prompted by concerns that recent judicial reforms might weaken existing anti-corruption institutions, the CoE’s so-called Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) announced an urgent evaluation of new Romanian legislation.

In late March 2018 GRECO’s plenary meeting adopted a report on judicial reforms in Romania and Poland, also under scrutiny from the CoE. Only the Polish government authorised the (highly critical) findings to be made public. The Romanian government has not followed suit yet, but GRECO’s conclusions are understood to be similarly damning.

Romania has thus far had a reputation for taking anti-corruption seriously. Its fiercely independent anti-corruption body, known internationally by its Romanian acronym DNA, has indicted scores of government officials, including a sitting prime minister. Since 2016 Romania’s ruling Social Democratic party (PSD) with a renewed mandate, has upped its efforts to stifle the DNA’s activities.

The Romanian example has been followed by its largest non-EU neighbour, Ukraine, which set up its own agency, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), in late 2014. Lacking powers to indict suspects like its Romanian counterpart, the NABU has sent over a hundred investigations to court. However, it has yet to claim a major conviction. And it is too under attack by politicians accused of corruption who want to see its work undermined just as the DNA’s in Romania.

Foreign investors should take note when institutions such as the DNA and NABU are under fire. Links between politics and business can be opaque and complex in countries such as Romania and Ukraine: independent institutions help keep corruption in check. The two countries remain high potential ones for investors interested in Eastern Europe: Romania is keen to attract more foreign investments to consolidate growth and insure sustainability after its recent "Fiscal Revolution", while Ukraine needs a successful IMF-backed privatization process in the months to come, with a view to 2019's hot electoral year. 

Regional expert Radu Magdin will address challenges of doing business in Romania and Ukraine, assess key risks and signal opportunities for prospective and existing investors in the region, as well as evaluate how upcoming developments in Romanian and Ukrainian politics are likely to impact their investment climate.  

The event will take the form of a briefing and roundtable discussion. If you are unable to join in person, we will also broadcast it as a webinar and make a podcast available.

Breakfast Briefing
Date: Wednesday 25 April 2018
Venue: The Risk Advisory Group, 3 More London Riverside, London, SE1 2AQ
Time: 08:30 - 10:00 (BST)

Webinar
Date: Wednesday 25 April 2018
Time: 09:00 - 10:00 (BST)

Podcast
Available on request

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