Session 1: Building Democratic Resilience through Anti-Corruption Policy and Action
Delving into strategies to Build Democratic Resilience through Anti-Corruption Policy and Action, the panel underscored the pivotal role of corruption prevention. The speakers provided compelling examples, demonstrating the efficacy of legal enhancements, strengthened oversight of political party financing, private sector involvement, and measures to combat foreign bribery. They further emphasized the need for an unified approach, calling for the harmonization of corruption offenses’ definitions, increased sanctions, and the adoption of advanced tools like e-Governance to enhance investigative capabilities.
The lack of regulations governing political party financing in the 1990s created an environment ripe for corruption, leading to a spate of high-profile scandals. This prompted the implementation of stricter financing limits and enhanced transparency measures to prevent the misuse of funds. Another significant development emerged with the signing of an international agreement at the United Nations, obliging signatory countries to establish legislation, mechanisms, and institutions dedicated to corruption regulation. The discussion highlighted the ongoing battle against corruption, emphasizing the need for robust contexts, encompassing financial resources and institutional tools, coupled with unwavering efforts. This multifaceted approach should include preventive measures, international coordination, and the establishment of networks to facilitate the exchange of best practices in combating corruption within Europe.
Highlights from the discussion
Michel Sapin, former Minister of Finance of France
“All countries, even those with old democracies, even those with independent justice systems, even those with strong institutions, may be confronting or have had to confront issues of corruption. The fight against corruption must be a long-term one. It is like riding a bicycle: if you stop pedalling, you fall off.”
Hristo Ivanov, MP, former Minister of Justice of Bulgaria
"The purpose of corruption is to turn power into more power. Sometimes the fight against corruption produces instruments with enhanced repressive functions, which themselves have an effective concentration of power. Sometimes it can be seen how the fight against corruption turns into productions of opportunities for corruption, and from this point of view we must never forget that the goal is the democratic sustainability of societies, the goal is to defend freedom, to defend justice and the rights of citizens.”
Lilyana Pavlova, Vice-President, European Investment Bank
"The approval of the projects by the European Investment Bank guarantees the highest environmental and economic standards, ensuring transparent public procurement and in fact gives one stamp of management, one quality that all projects meet all these high standards. We need a comprehensive mechanism for investment control, redefinition of strategic priorities, strategies that take into account changing geopolitical and economic realities and opportunities."
Ute Stiegel, Deputy Head, Legal Affairs and Anti-Corruption Unit, Directorate for International and Horizontal Affairs, Directorate-General Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission
“Corruption is part of the vicious circle of organized crime. The current EU legislation is fragmented, outdated and incomplete”