Funded by European Commission
Starting date May 2024
End date April 2029


Rescuing Democracy from Political Corruption in Digital Societies

Funded by European Commission
Starting date May 2024
End date April 2029

RESPOND – Rescuing Democracy from Political Corruption in Digital Societies – is a research project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme to shed light on the corruption and undue influence that undermine the quality of democracy. It focuses on:


  • How political corruption works in today’s digital societies.
  • How pervasive its negative impact on democracy is.
  • How anti-corruption efforts can rebuild people’s support for democracy as a regime, and encourage their commitment to integrity and their rejection of undemocratic proposals and actions.

The project continues the European Union’s efforts to ensure the strength of democracy and restore civil society’s confidence in democratic values. It achieves this through a novel interdisciplinary assessment of political corruption, understood here as behaviours and actions that often proliferate in grey areas of legality, leading to biased decision-making and exclusion in the political cycle. Based on a mixed-methods research design, RESPOND examines 27 EU countries and 11 neighbouring countries to achieve four ambitious objectives:


  1. Analyse four contemporary and relevant forms of political influence (political finance, lobbying, revolving doors/personal ties and media capture) to understand when they become problematic forms of influence linked to specific patterns of political corruption that undermine fair competition and broad participation in political decision-making.
  2. Assess how political elites and citizens understand political corruption, how it is socially constructed through media and education, and its implications for the legitimacy and credibility of democracy and responses to it.
  3. Explore how established and emerging digital technologies are intertwined with political corruption and how they enhance anti-corruption and pro-integrity strategies at both national and transnational levels.
  4. Engage in co-creation with relevant stakeholders to design, test and revise practices and tools, including new risk indicators developed by RESPOND, to improve citizen monitoring and integrity in contemporary democracies.

Transcrime, as leader of the WP5, will develop and apply an innovative methodology to:


  • track and map the use of personal connections and revolving doors as a practice of political corruption;
  • analyse the evolution of this practice in the digital environment;
  • identify gaps in conflict of interest regulation.

We will also contribute to the development of the theoretical, legal and empirical framework of the project and build a database of political corruption cases. We will then define training programmes based on the results of the project.


The project involves 16 European partners, including universities, research centers, NGOs and private institutions.


The RESPOND project was funded by the European Commission within the Horizon Europe programme. The content of this page represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.