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Integrity Watch Europe: Online tools for the fight against political corruption in Europe

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Integrity Watch: an online tool to hold politicians accountable | Transparency International

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Too often, politicians act in their own self-interest at the expense of the people they serve. To keep office holders in check, Integrity Watch provides officials, civil society and journalists with data on integrity in political decision-making across Europe.

What's at stake?

From politically connected companies facing no competition in public tenders to politicians receiving secret donations from foreign governments, political corruption is far too common. This is frequently because of unfair levels of influence that certain privileged individuals and groups have over those in power, which skews resources and policies away from the common good.

The result is inequality, weakening democracy and human rights violations. People throughout Europe are calling for an end to political corruption.

But it’s only possible to hold politicians to account when safeguards exist throughout the political process, including open data about politicians’ assets, contacts and donors.

What we are doing about it

Integrity Watch provides officials, citizens, civil society and journalists with a series of online tools for the prevention, detection and reduction of political corruption in 16 EU countries.

It also brings key actors together to increase coordination at home and across borders around political corruption, share lessons learnt and push for better anti-corruption standards.

This third edition of Integrity Watch goes beyond simply gathering and advocating for better data to identify risks – it is developing tools for any user to better spot and map-out risks of undue influence on politics and convincing decision-makers to give law enforcement more power and resources to clamp down on this problem.

We will create seven new national Integrity Watch platforms in Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia, and update existing ones in eight other countries and for the EU. These feed into the single largest database on political integrity in Europe and will result in a significant increase in the use of data to foster political integrity in the 15 countries.

Transparency International chapters, together with our EU office, are scoping relevant data on lobbying, conflicts of interests, assets and incomes of politicians, revolving doors, or other areas where political corruption might happen. And they are cross-referencing this with information on the use of public resources and other money flows to better track where corruption happens. All of this data is being harmonised and featured in user-friendly interactive websites.

In addition, the tools inform a series of reports containing detailed analysis of the data and highlighting potential gaps in regulation, best practices and recommendations for improvements.

The project:

  • enables people, civil society and journalists to better hold their elected representatives to account
  • supports enforcement agencies in their efforts to detect and sanction corruption
  • formulates recommendations to address political corruption

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Integrity Watch: The importance of open date in the EU | Transparency International

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Our approach

We can only monitor and promote political integrity and combat corruption if we know the private financial interests of our politicians, and if we determine who has access to political decision-making and the means through which they gain such access. This is where data comes in.

A few key datasets have the potential to let the media, civil society and government oversight and law enforcement institutions keep a watchful eye on asset and income declarations of politicians and high-ranking public officials, political party donation registers, and lobby registers. All of which is vital for a robust political integrity system.

Here is an overview of existing Integrity Watch Europe platforms:

Are you a researcher, civil society activist, journalist or curious about the original datasets powering our Integrity Watch platforms? Register on the Integrity Watch datahub to join the fight against political corruption and gain access to one of the largest databases on political integrity in Europe!

This central hub will provide you with an overview of all existing Integrity Watch platforms deployed across the world.