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European Commission Vice-President Kallas meets Transparency International in Berlin

of Administrative Affairs, Audit and Anti-Fraud, discusses European anti-corruption strategy with TI

In a symbolic move, Siim Kallas, former Prime Minister of Estonia and a newly appointed Vice President of the European Commission, yesterday visited the Transparency International Secretariat in Berlin. Kallas, EU Commissioner in charge of administrative affairs, audit and anti-fraud, discussed common goals with senior executives of TI, the leading global non-governmental organisation engaged in the fight against corruption.

After the meeting, Kallas, one of the chief architects of Estonia’s accession to the EU, said that he was “very much looking forward to working with TI and appreciated the constructive criticism and civil society perspective that the organisation offered”. Kallas and TI representatives, including TI Chairman Peter Eigen, found common ground on a number of issues, such as the promotion of broader disclosure rules, including a public registry, disclosure of all recipients of EU funding in member states, and a more transparent regulation of lobbying.

The meeting also touched on issues such as the debarment of corrupt companies from EU contracting, a European prosecutor’s office and a role for TI in evaluating the anti-corruption efforts of accession countries. TI’s Chief Executive, David Nussbaum, remarked that the meeting had been exceedingly productive and “in the co-operative spirit of TI’s decade-long relationship with European Union”.

From 1995 onwards, under the leadership of TI senior adviser Dieter Frisch, former Director-General for Development of the European Commission, TI lobbied successfully for the European Commission’s first comprehensive anti-corruption policy paper, which was published in May 1997. The paper was followed in October 1998 by the European Parliament’s Bontempi Report on Combating Corruption. In November 1999, TI issued a second memorandum to the Commission urging for a comprehensive EU strategy to fight corruption, and that paper fed into a second EU policy on corruption in 2003, entitled "A comprehensive EU policy against corruption", and the European Parliament’s Rutelli Report on Combating Corruption in the Private Sector.

TI has also been actively advocating EU-level whistleblower protection at the European Commission and anti-corruption clauses in export credit guarantees as well as in foreign aid programmes underwritten by EU member-states. TI is also pressing to make the new European arrest warrant a viable instrument, which would be supported by the establishment of a European prosecutor.

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