watchdog, monitoring, evaluation

Report from seminar “Transparency and anti-corruption measures in the management of EU funds”

by Ondrej Marek, 21 February 2011

Friends of the Earth-CEPA organized a seminar “Transparency and anti-corruption measures in the management of EU funds”, that took place in Bratislava on 17th January 2011. Seminar followed Friends of the Earth-CEPA's previous activities in the field of anti-corruption measures and transparency on the level of programming and management of the EU funds in Slovakia.

These activities were aimed at creating and implementing a system of measures in order to protect against non-transparency, abuse and conflict of interest at the decision-making and managing of the EU funds levels in Slovakia and conflict of interest rule. In 2001 Friends of the Earth-CEPA initiated the formation of an independent civil EU funds monitoring team in Slovakia. Its main goal was to contribute to bringing in accordance the management of EU funds with the public interest, monitoring the government's course of action in programming, informing the public in the region on the current developments, initiating official bodies in Slovakia and in Europe and then following the practice and finally to monitoring EU funded projects with a positive or negative impact on regional development. The efforts resulted in a governmental resolution No. 797/2004. Some of the recommendations of the Independent monitoring team were also included in the Act No. 528/2008 on the help and support from the EU funds and in a series of methodical directives published by the Ministry of Reconstruction and Regional Development of the Slovak Republic in 2007.

Friends of the Earth-CEPA and members of the Independent monitoring team regularly follow the compliance with measures embodied in these norms and as a result publish a Report on compliance with measures against non-transparency, abuse and conflict of interest. The mentioned seminar was organised at the occasion of publishing a Report on compliance with measures against non-transparency, abuse and conflict of interests in 2009 and 2010. Its aim was to present the results of a survey on the compliance with anti-corruption measures, as well as to present recommendations for public administration authorities and open the discussion about problems of public bodies in practice and possible legislative measures in the field of transparent management of EU funds.

Seminar was organized mainly for the officials of state institutions and regional self-governing bodies, responsible for the management of EU funds, decision-makers from ministries and Government Office of the Slovak Republic Representatives of non-governmental organisations and media was welcomed.

Apart from the Report, two representatives of public authorities gave their speeches. Firstly, Róbert Dobrovodský, representative of the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic presented a new act No. 546/2010, which enacts obligatory publishing of those contracts that concern dealing with the public money including structural funds. In addition, such contracts are only valid after being published on the internet at the Central Register for Contracts. Secondly, Marek Hojsík from The Fund for Social Development portrayed the existing situation regarding the use of structural funds in the area of employment and social inclusion, which is a separate operational programme. He provided the participants with a critical feedback of the institution and listed several measures undertaken in order to improve the monitoring and implementation of the programme.

Seminar was very well received and as the feedback and reactions by the representatives of official authorities show should represent next step towards more transparent and efficient use of public money.

Fifth Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion Recomendation of European Civil Meeting

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