During a meeting with the Romanian Prime Minister, following anti-corruption weakening trials, Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission said the following:

I strongly believe that if you stick to that road-map, you would get where you need to be. We want to be in a situation where the fight [against corruption] is so successful, that the situation is irreversible.

This has nothing to do with party politics, it has nothing to do with other political discussions, it is the clear manifestation of the willingness of the Romanian people, Romanian Government and Romanian Parliament to create the situation where we passed the point of no return, and the Romanian citizens are reassured that their country is no longer in the grips of systemic corruption. That’s exactly what the CVM process is all about.

I will take the ireversibility and "the point of no return" as metaphors. However, CVM is in place for both Bulgaria and Romania, especially in the fields of Area of justice.

Since corruption is mentioned in relation to CVM (source)

  • for Romania to address specific benchmarks in the areas of judicial reform and the fight against corruption
  • for Bulgaria to address specific benchmarks in the areas of judicial reform and the fight against corruption and organised crime

I am interested in how it is measured. I know about the Corruption Perception Index, but it sounds very subjective.

Question: How does the EU objectively assess the level of corruption within a certain country?

  • you are asking two unrelated questions: 1) How does the European Union [objectively] assess the level of corruption within a certain country? and 2) are there any [objective] methods for corruption assessment at country level? - I bracketed the word "objective/objectively" as the assessment of it is highly subjective. Maybe you can focus on one of the two instead?
    – dannyf
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 14:33
  • @dannyf - yes, I choose the more narrow one (the title, actually) as it makes the question more answerable. Thanks for pointing out this inconsistency.
    – Alexei
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 15:12

2 Answers 2


What a thoughtful and concise question.


The report was produced by the research team at the Quality of Government Institute, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg Sweden for the European Commission, Directorate-General Regional Policy, Directorate Policy Development.

It is very comprehensive and outlines the complete research methodology for the measurement of corruption within a democratic nation-state. This particular report is used internally against all 27 EU countries and 172 NUTS 1 and NUTS 2 regions within 18 countries which are highly robust to a wide array of sensitivity tests.

For the second part of your question you can refer to the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre who have lots of publications including Anti-corruption Measures as Political Criteria for EU Accession: Lessons from the Bulgarian Experience They also publish the International Drivers of Corruption

Executive Summary

The report rests of measuring four basic pillars

  • QoG Concept 1: Rule of Law
  • QoG Concept 2: Corruption
  • QoG Concept 3: Quality of the Bureaucracy
  • QoG Concept 4: Democracy & Strength of Electoral

In the report they analyse Single Source vs.Composite Source Indicators and also Expert vs. Random/ Representative Surveys. The primary quantitative dataset is taken from the World Bank. In addition, the report uses 10 in-depth qualitative case studies as well as data analysis.

Data analysis is as follows;

  • Description of the Survey Data: Individual Level
  • The Survey Questions
  • Respondent Demographics
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Correlation Matrix
  • Factor Analysis

The data quality is measured through in depth analysis;

  • Normalization of the Data
  • Aggregation of the data & weights
  • The Aggregated Data: QoG at the Regional Level
  • Within Country Variation
  • Margins of Error
  • Internal Consistency Checks of the Data
  • Sensitivity and Uncertainty Tests
  • Combining the National and regional Level Data
  • External Consistency Tests of the Data
  • Bivariate relationships with QoG correlates

Why study democratic Government corruption?

There are numerous accounts showing how quality of government decreases – and corruption increases – after moves towards democracy (Lemarchand 1972, Scott 1972, Wade 1985, Sayari 1977, Varese 1997 Weyland 1998).


According to the contemporary data, most indicators point out that QoG, or ‘good governance’ is generally higher on average within the EU-27 member states as com pared with other world regions, yet there is significant variation among the countries in the EU. While this is generally accepted by many, the measurements of such concepts as bureaucratic quality or corruption are difficult to capture to say the least.

This report should be an excellent launchpad into the measurement of Quality of Government (IE free of corruption) within EU member states.

However the methodology and the research are cited frequently in publications.

Other Resources of Note

  • Thank you for the exhaustive answer. Some references are very useful and I have marked as To read. However the following highlighted phrase is unclear to me: "specifically requested prospective EU member states we at least have the prescribed methodology ...". OP refers to the CVM for Bulgaria and Romania, which are both EU members since 2007.
    – Alexei
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 13:00

Question: How does the EU objectively assess the level of corruption within a certain country?

By utilizing various highly subjective, country-specific and incredibly qualitative measurements on the merits of individual countries, in a non-systemic way.

A long way of saying that they make it up as they go.

This report may get you started.

  • 2
    1. once again, you make claims with no substantiation 2. to prevent the effects of link-rot, you should report here the main points of "this report"
    – Federico
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 14:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .