The Anticorruption Report. Volume 3: Government Favouritism in Europe

This volume reunites the fieldwork of 2014-2015 in the ANTICORRP project. It is entirely based on objective indicators and offers both quantitative and qualitative assessments of the linkage between political corruption and organised crime using statistics on spending, procurement contract data and judicial data. The methodology used in the analysis of particularism of public resource distribution is applicable to any other country where procurement data can be made available and opens the door to a better understanding and reform of both systemic corruption and political finance. The main conclusion of this report is that public procurement needs far more transparency and monitoring in old Member States, where it is far from perfect, as well as new ones and accession countries, where major problems can be identified, partly due to more transparency and monitoring.This policy report is the third volume of the policy series “The Anticorruption Report” produced in the framework of the EU FP7 ANTICORRP Project. The report was edited by Prof. Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, PhD from the Hertie School of Governance, head of the policy pillar of the project.

Print and e-book versions of all full reports can be purchased here.

Reviews for this publication

Public infrastructure projects and other types of government procurement almost everywhere in the world suffer from favoritism and corruption, if not outright criminality. The spoils always go to the people with the right connections, wealth, or the willingness to use or threaten violence. This is among the most difficult aspects of governance for scholars to study: those who talk don’t know, and those who know don’t talk. This slim volume summarizes detailed studies of favoritism in Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine. A final chapter shows how criminal organizations in many countries—including Mafia-like groups in Bulgaria and Italy—infiltrate national and EU-level public spending projects. Each chapter is packed with a remarkably rich set of charts, graphs, and statistical analyses that capture how much corruption exists and how it works. These succinct and eye-opening quantitative estimates of what really goes on beneath the surface of government make for indispensable reading and should straighten out anyone who doubts that the powerful always find ways to reinforce their influence and wealth, even on the “cleanest” of continents.

Andrew Moravcsik, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University in Foreign Affairs

Report on Croatia on institutions in public procurement for the infrastructure sector

This report seeks to assess the extent of favouritism – i.e., preferential treatment for some bidders over others – in the allocation of public procurement contracts in the construction sector in Croatia. The methodology is based on identifying opportunities for favouritism and evaluating the effectiveness of constraints. The research finds that Croatia’s public procurement law sets a high standard and there are numerous transparency and control mechanisms in place. Nevertheless, the integrity of procurement is undermined because a large share of it is contracted by entities which are owned by government units and thus subject to political influence and constrained by a much weaker control framework. Data on the procurement of high-value construction works is analysed for indicators of favouritism in the process or outcomes. Whilst there is only limited use of restrictive procedures, competition for public contracts is surprisingly weak in a sector under considerable economic pressure. Moreover, around one-half of the total contract value is won by tenderers which are not private companies but rather entities that are partially or fully owned by the state. This raises further questions about the potential for political leaders to influence the process in order to achieve favouritism in the allocation of public contracts, to benefit themselves or third parties. Evidence from the verdict of a trial involving high-ranking politicians suggests further that such favouritism may be widespread.

Against Corruption

Through the project instructive seminars for teachers and high school pupils were organized during the school year under the name “Against Corruption””. Politics and economy, sociology and ethics teachers were invited, as well as any interested teachers of other subjects.”

Promotion of the principles of good governance and increased citizens’ participation in the decision-making process in the Republic of Croatia

The project was primarily aimed at strengthening citizens, local civil society organizations (CSO), neighborhood councils, national minorities’ councils and local officials, at improving the communication between them through education on the principles of good governance and rule of law, as well as on the possibilities of involving in the decision-making processes on local level.

“Yes”” for Parliament with Clean Hands”

The “Yes to a Parliament with Clean Hands“ campaign was conducted in October and November of 2007 in cooperation with our partners, the Bura Network and the Romanian Academic Society (SAR). The main goal of the campaign was to raise the level of political integrity of all political parties and independent candidates that stood for the 2007 parliamentary elections on November 25th. The activities of the campaign were divided into three main categories. The first activity was a proposition made towards all the candidates for parliamentary elections to sign a declaration of asset form prepared by the Bura Network. By signing the form candidates would proactively show that their private interest was subordinate to their commitment to the public good. The second activity was directed toward the political parties asking them to sign a Campaign Participation Agreement. This agreement required the political parties to base their selection criteria of candidates on a number of principles insuring that the candidate or his close relatives never profited from the process of privatization, gained capital from extensive transaction with the state and never had verifiably been accused of a confirmed conflict of interest. The third activity was the general advocacy of the citizens democratic right to vote and convincing citizens to sign a petition for the amend of the Act on the Prevention of conflict of Interest in the Exercise in the Public Office.
These advocacy activities encompassed 54 cities, towns and municipalities, a total of 276, 352 leaflets were distributed and 2, 891 petition signatures were collected. The information on the campaign and its results were reported by 47 different media.
The campaign results were organized into a white list of political parties that signed the Campaign Participation Agreement and black listed parties that refused to sign the agreement. From the black listed parties the following candidates provided declarations of assets: Dragutin Lesar (HNS), Jozo Radoš (HNS), Nada Bajić (HNS), Jadranka Cigelj (HSP), Zoran Vinkovć (SDP), Božidar Čapalija (HSU), Ana Dusper (HSU).
The results of the campaign were 11 white listed parties and 7 black listed parties. However, this result must be contextualized with the information that all of the major parties in government and a large portion of opposition parties currently holding seats within parliament refused to sign the Agreement. The Agreement was mainly signed by regional parties that lacked any major role in the political decisions made by this session of parliament. This is a testimony to the lack of political will to reform the current structure of government that is plagued with conflicts of interest and corruption.

‘Civic Society Anti-Corruption Response’, Croatia and Kosovo (2008)

The project implemented by SAR together with PSD Croatia and COHU Kosovo aimed to strengthen the ability of partner organizations to implement anti-corruption advocacy projects. The program monitored the entire process, from policy-making to research to advocacy.

Croatia

  • Report on conflicts of interest, distributed electronically to all stakeholders
  • Hold an international conference in May 2008, with the participation of all partners, to present the status quo on conflicts of interest, the mechanisms that can be used to disclose them and civil society involvement in projects that would increase civil servants’ responsibility
  • Advocacy activities regarding the campaing entitled “Yes for Parliament with Clean Hands”, implemented by BURA before the parliamentary elections. The campaign was shaped after the Coalition for a Clean Parliament
  • Activities for consolidating the BURA NGO network, coordinated by PSD – meetings, public events, discussions

Kosovo

  • Report regarding conflicts of interest, the efficiency of statal instruments against corruption (including research on two conflicts of interest programs  and assets statements), distributed electronically to all the stakeholders
  • International conference in April 2008. The participants list included SAR, COHU and MJAFT. The conference aimed to to present the status quo on conflicts of interest, the mechanisms that can be used to disclose them and civil society involvement in projects that would increase civil servants’ responsibility

Implemented from January 1, 2008 to December 15, 2008

 

Public procurement City of Zagreb – Financial Management Policy Analysis project

The objective of the project was improving transparency and accountability of the City of Zagreb business dealings – i.e. transparency of all departments within the City of Zagreb) and establishing new and/or to improve the existing mechanisms of independent and accurate control of financial management related processes.

Reducing Political Corruption

An advocacy project, this addressed the need of establishing a transparent system of political parties’ financing and an initiative, which would support the citizens’ rights to familiarize themselves with financial transactions and data regarding the political parties’ finances and management of their respective incomes and expenditures.