We have supported a record number of projects in 2017
Through our grant scheme For a Transparent Slovakia 2017 we supported 8 projects, which are aimed at increasing the transparency of public life and promoting measures to reduce the room for corruption and state capture.
In cooperation with involved companies, we are going to reallocate EUR 140,000 to one-year projects.
The winning projects have been selected by an independent evaluation committee including:
- Miroslav Kollár, the mayor of the town of Hlohovec
- Ján Orlovský, the director of Open Society Foundation
- Pavlína Holcová, the founder of the Czech Centre for Investigative Journalism
- Zuzana Petková, the deputy editor-in-chief of the Trend weekly
- Martin Slosiarik, the director of the Focus Agency
- Lenka Surotchak, Pontis Foundation
The project “Openly about transport – revealing the symptoms and consequences of state capture” is going to expand the activities of the Institute for Economic and Social Reforms and aim at providing more balanced information about transport projects. It is going to make it harder for oligarchs and politicians to cover up a shady distribution of funds in transport and overpriced megaprojects. It is going to focus on the announced pressure on easing of the debt brake. Under the pretext of support of regional development, there is a plan in 2017 to increase the amount of funds for motorway projects instead of making them more effective or procuring them without corruption.
Effective use of public funds is also the focus of the initiative Slovensko.digital. Its aim is to raise awareness of the main problematic aspects of state IT projects. The methodology “Red flags” will provide a universal model for their critical evaluation – to what extent they meet the criteria of expertise, transparency, and financial efficiency. The intention is to improve and simplify the visibility of evaluation of the quality of state IT projects, which have an allocated budget of tens of millions of euros every year.
A third project which focuses on the control of the use of public funds is by the Institute for Good Governance. It pays particular attention to property administered by the state. Its worth is in hundreds of millions of euros, but we know little of how effectively it is managed. Partial analyses make it evident that although the existing property is underused, the state concludes new lease contracts. In some cases, media, moreover, pointed to connections between the landlords and the governmental parties.
Via Iuris has been dealing with the judiciary for a long time. A high quality and independent judiciary is one of the key prerequisites for better law enforcement and legal certainty in Slovakia. Therefore, the project focuses especially on a better selection of judges, who are crucial for positive change. The project also aims to contribute to a better staffing of the Slovak Council of Judges and the Slovak Constitutional Court, which are both in for key personnel changes in the following period. They will have a significant effect on the judiciary in the next decade.
It is not possible to limit room for corruption without courageous people who are willing to report it. It may be a very difficult and unpleasant situation especially for civil servants. The main aim of Transparency International Slovakia‘s project is to boost their resistance, self-confidence, and readiness for anti-corruption action. The aim is based on their key position in the state administration system. The project aims to set up a rescue network for whistle-blowers, which should guarantee they will be able to continue a normal life (occupation, legal, media, and “moral” support), and to create an informal space for the education and socialization of the “peer group” of clerks.
State capture is a situation when public affairs are not decided by democratically elected representatives of citizens but by the private interests of people in the background, so-called oligarchs. Aliancia Fair-play‘s project focuses on two key areas to eliminate state capture – exerting pressure on supervisory authorities and actively communicating with the public. Defunct institutions are an important factor contributing to state capture. It is often sufficient if authorities do not act or act slowly. Their defunctness is regarded as a symbol of the state’s failure and is a source of frustration because justice seems to be unreachable in a democracy. The weaker ability of anti-corruption organizations to intelligibly communicate difficult topics to people other than their sympathizers weakens confidence in the rule of law. By means of communication activities Aliancia Fair-play will try to fight the defunctness of authorities, improve legislation and communicate to strengthen people’s confidence in the rule of law again.
Through the Fund for a Transparent Slovakia we want to provide more support to non-governmental organizations which operate at regional level. Within the call For a Transparent Slovakia 2017, the expert committee decided to support the projects of the associations Proti korupcii and Združenie občanov miest a obcí Slovenska (ZOMOS). The Žilina-based association will focus on anti-corruption activities in the region. ZOMOS will concentrate on reinforcing the expertise of people working in municipal governments and on developing their networking and cooperation to enable them to more effectively contribute to the transparency of the management of municipalities.
We are planning to continue providing support for local and regional projects. In April 2017 we are going to announce a call for grant applications For Transparent Regions.
Our plan for 2017 is to reallocate a total of nearly EUR 300,000 within the Fund for a Transparent Slovakia.