Slovakia’s main challenge lies in establishing the rule of law
While Slovakia has a standard legal framework to support integrity, implementation is lacking. The Police Force, Judiciary, President, and Public Procurement Office have scored the lowest and are thus considered to be the weakest institutions in Slovakia. The results are based on the National Integrity System (NIS), a study of integrity and anti-corruption programs, conducted by Transparency International in 25 European countries over the last year. In Slovakia, researchers from the Slovak Governance Institute carried out the national study for Transparency International Slovakia with a focus on the quality of legislation and its implementation in practice. The study looks at the period from March 2009 to September 2011.
The majority of institutions analyzed in the study does not lack resources – financial, human, and technical – but has faced inappropriate interventions threatening independence in practice.
The legal framework of many of the institutions assessed – in terms of transparency and accountability – is sufficient. However, implementation of the existing rules is lacking. Weak implementation of integrity mechanisms such as codes of conduct, rules on conflict of interest, or whistleblower’s protection is widespread. Even well-resourced pillars such as the President or Ombudsman do not use their potential to support the fight against corruption, mainly due to their passive approach to the relevant issues.
There are two groups of pillars that have not performed well in the National Integrity System. The first group consists of the Police Force, Judiciary, Prosecution, and Public Procurement Office – those institutions that have lately been operating in a very unstable environment. The second group includes the pillars of the President, Business, and the Local Civil Service – those institutions that are passive in their role in the system and are very weak in terms of accountability.
The Media and Civil Society play an important role as watchdogs in society, and both are considered to be strong pillars of the Slovak NIS. Both the Legislature and the Government have lately contributed to the anti-corruption effort by drafting and approving anti-corruption legislation and new transparency standards. The Supreme Audit Office, Ombudsman, and Political Parties are also among the stronger pillars with sufficient resources. However, they are not fulfilling their potential with regards to anti-corruption activities.
The main recommendations based on the NIS findings include de-politicizing the civil service, drafting a whistleblower’s protection act and setting up a permanent election committee, responsible for monitoring political party financing and asset disclosure by politicians.
The National Integrity System project in Slovakia was supported by the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme of the European Commission Directorate-General Home Affairs, International Visegrad Fund, and the Open Society Foundation.
Ctibor Košťál, Slovak Governance Institute, 02/44 636 080
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