Preventing flooding and malpractice in Greece

Filed under - Integrity Pacts Programme

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Almost every winter, heavy rains in Athens cause devastating floods that sweep away cars and ruin households and businesses. A combination of population growth, urbanization and poor planning means that streams and rivers that used to carry away heavy rain falling in Athens have been covered over and the water has nowhere to go. Wild fires that hit the Attica region in summer time and destroy woodlands exacerbate the problem. In 2015, the damage was particularly extensive. One man died and many lost their homes and cars. The situation was not much better in 2013, 2014 or 2016.

In response, the Region of Attica has set flood protection among its priorities between now and 2020 and is implementing a series of anti-flood projects that will upgrade existing networks or connect them with new ones. Among the projects is one that has been pressingly requested by two municipalities in one of the worst-hit Athenian suburbs. The project is to create a massive and complex network of pipelines to carry flood water safely away from the municipalities of Aghios Ioannis Rentis-Nikaia and Tavros-Moschato. They have secured more than EUR 12.5 million in funding from the European Union to do this.

Transparency International Greece, working with the Attica Region, will monitor the procurement process – from the launch of the tender, and the evaluation of bidders, to the construction work itself – using a tool called an Integrity Pact. TI Greece has already forged links with local mayors and other actors, such as the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company (EYDAP S.A.) as well as local citizens’ groups and businesses to introduce them to the Integrity Pact.

FIND OUT MORE
In 2016 the European Commission teamed up with Transparency International to pilot the use of Integrity Pacts for 17 projects in 11 Member States, including Greece, worth a total of over EUR 900 million. To find out more about each project click here.

Similar large scale public works frequently face challenges in Greece. The country’s rich cultural heritage can sometimes be a mixed blessing: a particularly Greek problem is that construction projects are regularly delayed when they stumble across important archaeological finds while digging, especially in a place as ancient as Athens.

While not much can be done about history, bad practices and corrupt mentalities in Greek public procurement should be changed: corruption is something that should have no place in Greek public procurement. In the past, this has not been the case. In May 2016 the Hellenic Competition Commission launched an investigation on alleged collusion regarding tenders for public works dating as far back as 1989 and has already imposed fines (press release 4/8/2017) totaling EUR 80.7 million on companies involved.

Using Integrity Pacts is one way to help prevent further misuse of public funds.

“The Integrity Pact cannot eliminate corruption but by allowing an independent eye at all stages of a public contract it can prevent and correct problems if they arise.” said Eugenia Papathanasopoulou, General Secretary to the Board of Directors, Transparency International Greece. “Above all it highlights the constructive role civil society can play as part of the process and provide the public with an opportunity to understand how they can be part of it and push for more access to information, participation, good governance and timely and proper implementation of public contracts”



Country / Territory - Greece   
Topic - Public procurement   
Tags - Public procurement   |   Integrity Pacts   |   Greece   |   clean contracts   

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