International and Hungarian leaders of Transparency International introduced their recommendations to the Government today morning expecting more efficient actions against corruption from the Hungarian presidency.Corruption undermines the rule of law and good governance, it leads to the misallocation and misuse of EU funds and it acts as a serious distortion of fair competition within the internal European market. Citizens expect the EU to lend its political weight to the fight against corruption, as a significant majority is of the opinion that the EU institutions and member states are ill-equipped to prevent corruption. Consequently, EU level programmes are needed.
“We promote the adoption of a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy at the EU level as corruption is a significant obstacle to economic development in Europe.” – told Jana Mittermaier, the Head of the EU Office of Transparency International based in Brussels.
The recommendations of the international organization dealt with the public and business sector, judiciary and law enforcement. The TI has indicated in its contribution that the regulations on the access to EU documents are currently under revision and there is a concern that the amendments would narrow down the scope of publicity. Lessons of the past years have shown that the current level of accessibility is not enough to prevent unjust influence on the EU decision making process and to enable EU citizens to see what decisions are made in their names in fact.
As far as the regulations on lobbying were concerned the TI has stressed that there are no transparency obligations applying to the employees of EU institutions and lobbyists working there, hence binding lobby registration is needed. Furthermore conflicts of interest shall be regulated in a stricter way, especially regarding the so-called “revolving door” phenomenon, when one is changing a job between the private and the public sector. The TI expects an EU level initiative in connection with party financing and the protection of whistleblowers as well.
Strong Europe can only be working upon a well-functioning internal market, therefore the recommendations touch upon the requirements concerning regulating the business sector. The TI highlighted that corruption in Hungarian and EU public procurements is a problem and suggests the review of the related directives and other legal instruments. To hinder wrongdoings through off-shore companies the importance of close cooperation among the member states was underlined.
“The current EU presidency provides an opportunity for the EU and the member states not only to speak out more courageously and in stronger cooperation against corruption, but the international attention could also force out the necessary Hungarian measures as well.” – added Ádám Földes, the new executive director of Transparency International Hungary.