US proposes a bipartisan bill to fight corruption in the WB

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a bill aimed at supporting economic development, trade, and fighting corruption, including drafting special sanctions legislation to curb destabilizing activities in the Western Balkans.

The bill, otherwise known as the Western Balkans Democracy and Prosperity Act, was introduced by Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, and Republican Senator Roger Wicker.
 
The initiative comes amid increased concerns in the region due to the war in Ukraine. Senator Shaheen said that US relations with the Western Balkans are crucial in these times, where Russian President Vladimir Putin's intentions to spread malign influence throughout Eastern Europe are evident.
 
“The new bipartisan bill strengthens trade and investment between the US and the Western Balkans, while at the same time-fighting corruption, through the adoption of special legislation for sanctions against destabilizing actors. All these pave the way for a wider Euro-Atlantic integration,” Shaheen said in the presentation of the initiative on her website.
 
The bill instructs Secretary of State Antony Blinken to provide technical assistance to each Western Balkan country to develop a national anti-corruption strategy.
 
It also foresees the return into law of two executive orders, which would guarantee powers for sanctions against those who threaten peace and stability in the Western Balkans and who are involved in corrupt acts. It is also aimed at promoting university partnerships, encouraging the engagement of the Peace Corps in the region, creating an initiative for youth leadership in the Balkans, and as requested by the Development Finance Corporation to open a previously announced office in the region.
 
Shaheen led a group of US senators who visited Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina in April amid concerns about the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on the Western Balkans. Their visit was aimed at strengthening ties between Washington and the Western Balkans, in the face of foreign efforts to undermine peace.