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Political apathy enables corruption and demolishes an effective national integrity system

In the study “National integrity system – assessment and analysis” the association Integriteta / Transparency International Slovenia warns that uncovered deficiencies in the national integrity system and an excessive gap between legislation and practice open more and more possibilities for corruption.

TI Slovenia assessed the transparency, independence, accountability and integrity of thirteen “pillars” of democracy and the role they play in preventing corruption and assuring integrity in society.

This is the first overall insight into legislation and practical functioning of political parties, law enforcement authorities, public and private sectors, legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, the media, civil society, the Electoral Management Body, the Ombudsman, the Court of Audit, and the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption.

Together with experts, we have prepared key recommendations and detailed conclusions based on assessments and analysis

One of the study's main findings is that there is a significant gap between the existing legal framework and actual functioning of the institutions in the fight against corruption. These differences suggest there is a lack of appropriate control over the implementation of the legislation. As a result, the system encounters many cases of inappropriate, unethical and unacceptable behaviour of key decision-makers and members of political parties. The causes can be found in low personal integrity, attitude towards public interest and many opportunities to abuse the system.

In the Slovenian integrity system, the most endangered “pillars” are civil society, the media, law enforcement authorities and the private sector, which have also received the lowest assessments. The most stable pillars are the Electoral Management Body, Ombudsman, the Court of Audit, Judiciary and the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption.

Despite the Eurobarometer public opinion survey, according to which 95% of Slovenians think that corruption presents a serious problem, and as many as 74% think that corruption has increased in the last three years (which is the highest in the EU), especially in politics and the public and private sectors, the activity of civil society is low. Civil society lacks the power to issue systematic criticism of the misconduct of government and political parties, partially also due to the lack of resources and capability of independent operation. Fear of retaliation still discourages people from reporting suspected corruption.

Analysis of the National Integrity System also identifies deficiencies of the system in the functioning of the public sector, the independence of the media is endangered and investigative journalists do not have enough opportunities and knowledge to detect corruption, public procurement is non-transparent, the role of the law enforcement bodies in prosecuting corruption is too small, court cases are delayed or left without conclusion, and the founding of political parties is not regulated. Weaknesses are evident in the intertwinement of private and public sectors when assigning deals and lobbying, and in an inadequate system of control over the use of public money. Accountable governance of the authorities in practice is critical, while independence and integrity mechanisms are impaired especially due to inadequate execution of the legislation. Phenomena such as “state capture” and “revolving doors” are evident, as is the functioning of informal networks. We also warn about inadequate provision of sufficient resources and funding for functioning in most pillars. We perceived that access to public information is insufficient in practice because it is prevented by complicated procedures, and especially by authorities' shifting accountability.

Advantages, weaknesses, recommendations and key findings were communicated to the government, the President of the National Assembly and the National Council, civil society and the President of the state. The biggest challenge for an effective national integrity system is political will and commitment to seriously address problematic areas.

The concept of the National Integrity System came into existence within the movement of the biggest international non-governmental organisation for the fight against corruption, Transparency International. This is a fundamental conceptual tool for establishing a better system for preventing corruption. It is already used in more than a hundred states worldwide. The assessment of key institutions, so called “pillars” in the state which contribute to integrity, transparency and responsibility, is based on unified methodology and research. You can obtain more information on

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Simona Habič
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[email protected]

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