New report from Transparency International uses open data to analyse political integrity across Europe

Research finds that of the eight EU Member States and institutions surveyed for legislation and mechanisms to prevent corruption, none have adequate measures to prevent undue influence on public policies and decisions.

New research on political integrity in eight countries across the EU and the EU institutions, released today by Transparency International, reveals alarming shortcomings in independent oversight of political party financing, conflicts of interest for public officials and lobbying.

The report, Debugging democracy: open data for political integrity in Europeuses new research to explore asset and interest disclosure, political financing, and lobbying and reveals a patchwork of ineffective legislation across the region.

Co-author Jon Vrushi, Research Coordinator at Transparency International Secretariat stressed: “Without strong integrity measures in place, political corruption threatens democracy and undermines people’s trust in their governments. We need to ensure policy-makers do not give special treatment to specific interests, distorting policies, institutions and rules to cater to the needs of the few instead of the many, and this can only be done through proper legislation.”

“Very few countries verify information declared by politicians and the EU should set the example” said Raphael Kergueno, a Policy Officer at Transparency International EU and one of the report authors. “It is extremely worrying, especially when we look at the European Parliament to find that almost 500 MEPS declare having side activities without any independent authority checking that these are not creating conflicts of interests.”

One notable deficiency in most Member States is the lack of independent ethics and oversight bodies, which should be mandated to regulate the financial interests of public officials, the financing of political parties and of lobby activities.The data for this research has also been released on national versions of Integrity Watch (see notes), however it is often of poor quality. Governments must provide this data in a useable format if they really want to encourage public participation.

Notes to editor: 

Integrity Watch is a series of online tools designed to empower citizens, journalists and civil society organisations to monitor political integrity in public institutions. The Integrity Watch Europe project has developed seven new national Integrity Watch platforms and updated two existing ones, which resulted in 18 datasets analysed in this report.
 

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E: press@transparency.org 

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