On 6 December, the ITCO Intergroup hosted the conference Corridors of Power: where money meets politics. The public event in the European Parliament on the fight against corruption, was organised together with Transparency International. ITCO co-chair Dennis de Jong summarised the day as follows: “The fight against corruption is also a fight for citizens´ trust. In order to build trust of citizens in good governance, both the EU-institutions and NGO’s working against corruption have to get out of their bubble and make the connections with citizens.”
During the event international organisations such as OECD, OSCE and UNDP and representatives from non-profit organisations such as Access Info Europe, Center for Responsive Politics, and Open Government Partnership exchanged best practices on the fight against corruption. This year’s event helped in raising public awareness on the anti-corruption effort in the context of the UN Day against Corruption that is celebrated every year on 9 December.
“A clear message that emerged from the conference today,” said Elly Schlein Co-Chair of the ITCO Intergroup, “is that institutions should lead the fight against corruption and improve transparency through a lobby register, public access to all documents, new regulations for whistle-blowers, new rules on revolving doors and transparency in respect of the General Expenditure Allowance of MEPs. As ITCO Intergroup we will keep pushing the European Parliament to make efforts to rebuild citizens´ trust.”
Transparency itself is not enough to build trust, also informing citizens through user-friendly websites, and involving them through consultations early in the process remain important. Monitoring the powerful by checking a lobby register regularly on accurate data is one of the aspects of good governance that inspires citizen trust. “Transparency is just the first step to rebuild trust in European institutions. In order to ensure transparency in practice, the institutions need to take proactive steps for usable access to information, like searchable publications of lobby meeting and generally usable websites on transparency issues, and involving them through consultations early in the process remain important.” concludes Benedek Jávor.