Index V4

The primary aim of was to propose an innovative methodology for measuring an institution’s tendency towards corrupt behaviour and then use this methodology to investigate the level of corruption in the public administrations of the capital cities of the Visegrad 4 countries (CZ, SK, HU, PL). A comparative survey Index 4 was carried out in the capitals focusing on public procurement, internal audits, ethical codexes,conflict of interest and access to information. The results of the survey can be downloaded at http://www.transparency.cz/index.php?lan=cz&id=2500. The research into the level of corruption in the public administrations of the capital cities of the V4 served as a tool for putting pressure on political representatives. The project was a continuation of the efforts made in the project “A Corruption-Free Town Hall””.”

Political Corruption – Transparent Processes in Political Decision-Making I

Specific objectives achieved during the first phase of the project were: strengthening the internal capacity of TIC in the area of fighting political corruption; drawing attention to individual systemic shortcomings from which the Czech politics suffer, especially in the areas of political parties financing; legislative process; politicisation of public administration (clear definition of roles of politicians and public officials); internal democracy within the parties (selection of candidates for elections); investigation of criminal offences of elected representatives. The project outputs include an opinion survey on the transparency of political parties financing, conference and a publication “Transparent processes in political decision-making””.”

Prosecution of corruption and other serious economic crimes

The project activities (an analysis) aimed to initiate a debate on usefulness of the introduction of special anti-corruption institutions that were established in Slovakia to the Czech environment. A study “How effective are the Czech and Slovak law enforcement agencies”” was published and a conference on prosecution of corruption in the Czech Republic and Slovakia took place.”

Anti-Corruption Packages

The project was aimed at monitoring, archivation and presentation of the cases of corruption; and structural support of the organization.

Public Contracting – Transparent Competition for Public Funds

The ongoing project focuses on different problems related to public procurement; it involved monitoring of public procurement focused on the area of military procurement, policy paper on EU black listing standards, creation of the “Map of Clientelist Practices”” in the area of public construction contracts, seminars, concrete legislative proposals improving the transparency of the processes, participation at the international conferences, improvement of the applicant website.”

Detection of Corruption in the Czech Public Administration

The project consisted in watchdog activities; monitoring and mapping the corruption space in different public authorities and institutions; evaluation of the systemic risks. The staff members of the organization worked under cover in different institutions, only the director of the NGO was known.

Limitation of corruption and conflict of interest in the area of state incentives for foreign investments

The project aimed at increasing transparency of relations between the public administration and the foreign corporate investors via conflict of interests monitoring.

The organization became an active player within different administrative processes related to corporate investments in different parts of the country. Strategies towards big corporate business were developed, monitoring of decisions on state incentives for foreign investors was in place.

An important achievement was the Declaration of Understanding concluded with Hunday Motor Manufacturing, company that was preparing a big investment in Moravia.

The coalition of NGOs advocated the declaration that was co-signed by the representatives of the regional authorities and the Czech Invest agency and Ministry of Trade and Industry. The issue got extensive media coverage.

 

Read more about the Environmental Law Service initiatives on anti-corruption here (English).

A corruption-free Town Hall

The project included a roundtable discussion with employees of the Prague City Hall on the transparent decision-making and the problem of corruption. Before the 2002 local communal elections all the competing political parties and movements were approached and requested answers from their candidates to six questions concerning their personal position with respect to questions of transparency and corruption. The outcome is a report on this survey. The second phase of the project were the workshops in the V4 countries’ capitals entitled “Corruption-free Town Halls in the Visegrad Region”” aiming at experience sharing and comparison. The result of the first meeting that took place in 2003 in Prague was the formulation of specific plans and further elaboration of the cooperation.”

A Citizen within a Rule of Law

The project focused on watchdog activities of local anti-corruption activists; email conference for experience exchange was set up and workshops and seminars organized, focusing on real cases and practical know-how. An anti-corruption advice center for individual citizens was implemented, including the support of a lawyer.

Act on Free Access to Information

A law on free access to information that is a powerful tool for corruption control and watchdog activities has been absent in the Czech legal framework for quite a long time; this project contributed to the successful culmination of the efforts to bring it into life. The seminar was widely inclusive, convening the representatives of the civil society, deputies, journalists and civil servants. The printed outcome of the seminar was distributed to the members of Chamber of Deputies before the vote. The advocacy part and media campaign implemented by TIC targeted three main groups – deputies and senators, journalist and young people. The message was simple – allow for free access to information. Tools like free postcards with a motto “Get informed by your deputy or senator when they allow you to access the information” were used. TIC issued around 10.000 postcards and sent them to all legislators and important journalists; the postcards were also distributed freely by a chain of cinemas, cafes and restaurants. The main message of the campaign was modified and extended for each of the target groups (via press releases, letters or info brochures). The campaign managed to get the deputies and senators under pressure and made some of them to make a public commitment to support the law (43 out of the 200 deputies made the public commitment they would vote for the law). An individual approach to each and every deputy and senator proved efficient; it allowed for expression of their personal opinions and for media coverage. There was also an important role of journalist who were not only transmitting the message but took active part in the campaign. TIC supplied media actively with additional info on how the law works in different European countries or delivered the statements of the involved Czech deputies. The law was adopted in spring 1999 and went into effect as of January 2000.

Transparency for the Police

The first project phase consisted of survey of the state of affairs within the police force with the results published in May 2000. The second project phase consisted of comparison of anti-corruption strategies in the police forces in 25 countries with the publication “Crossing the Thin Blue Line”” as the output. With the help of the study, a “”Framework for an Anti-corruption Strategy for the Czech Police”” was designed in cooperation with representatives of the Ministry of Interior; Ministry of Justice; Police Presidium; Czech Police; Bureau of the Attorney General; judges; Office of the President; Ombudsman; Government Commissioner for Human Rights; non-profit organisations – Czech Helsinki Committee, People in Need, Civil Legal Observers. Another project activity was the introduction of regular integrity and ethics training for police and students of police schools; TIC initiated a pilot “Integrity and Ethics Course“ for police school teachers.”

Is East-Central Europe Backsliding? EU Accession Is No “End of History”

In the textbooks on democratic transition, Central and Eastern Europe provides the model of success. Yet in Brussels concern over the politics of the new EU members has been mounting. The day after accession, when conditionality has faded, the influence of the EU vanished like a short-term anesthetic. Political parties needed to behave during accession in order to reach this highly popular objective, but once freed from these constraints, they returned to their usual ways. Now we see Central and Eastern Europe as it really is—a region that has come far but still has a way to go.