14 Feb 2011

Keep an Eye on Them

And if the European Commission offers its help, then it would be wise to take it. In 2005, 2006 and 2008 the Center for Public Policy Providus has monitored the progress of anticorruption regulation and its enforcement in Latvia. With the financial support of the European Commission, the first report looked at the impact that the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) had on reducing corruption in Latvia since its creation in 2002. The latest two issues in 2008 were going deeper into the nitty-gritty of what could still be improved in anticorruption regulation in specific sectors, such as the judiciary and the law enforcement institutions. Corruption °C was not a simple assessment on the state of corruption in Latvia, but has also set the standards for what anticorruption policy should deliver. The latest report was drawing attention on the importance of education as preventive measure against corruption and how an efficient KNAB should take that into consideration in its future policies.

Credibility in front of the EU institutions was crucial. The EU adopted its Anticorruption Monitoring Mechanism only upon Romania’s and Bulgaria’s integration into the EU, following-up the possible enforcement of the safeguard clauses in the accession treaty. However, prior to that, the EU strongly relied on the local civil society to take ownership over its rule of law monitoring. States on the row to accession require both: having a strong civil society that would run watchdog activities and accepting permanent EU anticorruption scrutiny. It is probably much too often that one could hear a Croatian, Macedonian or Montenegrin Minister of European Affairs complaining about the legacy of good governance requirements that they unwillingly inherit from new member states. What they maybe cannot see yet is that having a free, strong and committed civil society, empowered to do things such as those done by Providus in Latvia is within the benefit of all.