Transparency International calls for greater implementation of anti-corruption laws in EU accession countries
Albania, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia and Turkey must do more to guarantee the effective implementation of anti-corruption laws, according to the latest report released today by Transparency International, which calls on the governments to build capacity and improve governance in key institutions.
“There is a need for stronger political will to tackle the problem of corruption in these countries. Ensuring that anti-corruption reforms are implemented and irreversible is essential to provide for a credible accession process and uniform approach to corruption across Europe,” said Jana Mittermaier, Head of the TI Liaison Office to the European Union.
The accession process to the EU requires countries to meet certain financial, economic, social and political standards. This includes progress in the area of anti-corruption and good governance, which has proven a critical stumbling block for candidates and potential candidate countries.
The new report, EU anti-corruption requirements: measuring progress in Albania, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia and Turkey, assesses anti-corruption progress in these four countries based on an evaluation of the institutions and anti-corruption laws in place. Using a new methodology, the Comparative Indicator-based Monitoring of Anti-corruption Progress initiative, developed by TI, the results provide a baseline analysis of how well a country complies with and implements anti-corruption legislation. This can then be monitored to see whether or not progress is made over time.
The findings show that while the legal and regulatory frameworks are often in place, implementation of anti-corruption laws and sanctioning of non-compliance is lacking across all four countries. Low capacity and weak governance in the judiciary, legislature and public administration help to explain this gap between law and practice in each country.
Common problems that exist across the countries include:
- Low and inconsistent levels of access to information
- Ineffective application of asset disclosure requirements
- Absent or unimplemented codes of conduct
- Political interference in institutional responsibilities and operations
- Poor working conditions for judges, legislative staff and civil servants
Key findings and recommendations of the report include:
Albania: The continued stalemate between political parties has stalled important reforms for the past two years. The judicial system needs reforms to ensure independence and the accountability and professionalism of judges. This includes increasing capacity and developing more precise criteria for the appointment of judges, and limited immunity in the event of misconduct and corruption. There is political interference in the appointment of civil servants, and the parliament lacks a professional and independent administration.
Kosovo: The low number of and lack of technical support for judges, as well as a lack of professionalism are core issues for the judiciary in Kosovo. Civil servants have little training, political interference in the recruitment process is rampant and low wages function as disincentive to attract qualified personnel. In addition, there is a lack of transparency in public procurement, which has raised suspicions over corruption in a number of recent contracts. The Assembly also faces difficulties fulfilling its oversight role of the government, due to a lack of staff capacity. The inability for the media and civil society to monitor government and the Assembly presidency is also a problem.
FYR Macedonia: There are particular problems in Macedonia with political interference around the dismissal of judges, appointment and removal of public servants, access to information and the implementation of public procurement procedures. It is, for example, impossible for the public to get information on court sessions since the minutes are not made public. There is a lack of whistleblower protection, a need to strengthen the ability of the Assembly to follow-up on findings of government audits, members of parliament should be more accountable and the public should be more involved in decision-making processes.
Turkey: Of key concern are the recruitment, appointment, promotion and disciplinary proceedings of judges, which are not transparent, despite recent improvements to the law. Further, there is no code of ethics for members of the parliament, nor is there a code of conduct for members of the judiciary. In addition, the internal audit system is not working, though controls exist, in public administration departments, and institutions responsible for receiving and checking asset declarations of high-level officials and judges lack capacity to follow-up on submissions.
Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.
Note to editors:
The detailed national assessment reports on Albania, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, and Turkey can be accessed here.
For any press enquiries please contact
Jana Mittermaier, Head of Office
Transparency International Liaison Office to the EU
T: +32 (0)2 23 58 621