16 of March 2021
Open letter addressed to the Romanian Government and European Commission
-Civil society supports integrity in public procurement-
Several civil society organizations addressed today an open letter to the Romanian Government and the European Commission requesting concrete measures to ensure integrity in public procurement and in the use of European funds. They propose that Integrity Pacts become a more commonly used tool for preventing corruption in public procurement. Integrity Pacts are a tool developed by Transparency International in the 1990s, through which citizens, experts and civil society organizations can become involved in monitoring public procurement. Since 2015, the mechanism is piloted at the level of the European Union in 11 member states, including Romania.
The letter signed by Transparency International Romania, the Romanian Academic Society, the Institute for Public Policy, the Syene Center for Education and the Center for Legal Resources calls for Integrity Pacts to be used in projects vulnerable to corruption, such as large infrastructure projects, communications and health technology projects and become a necessary condition for their eligibility to receive European funds. The Integrity Pacts aim to involve independent observers from civil society in all stages of a public procurement procedure, from identifying the need to receiving and evaluating offers, signing contracts and throughout the implementation of the contract.
The activity of independent observers is not limited at observing the process, but involves constant interaction with the contracting authority and bidders, to comply with procedures and the law, prevent problems that may lead to appeals and lawsuits and they also must promote and ask for smart-spending of the public funds. The letter also includes a call for safeguards the protection of whistleblowers that may be addressed to non-governmental authorities or organizations.
The signatory organizations call for the adoption of mechanisms for the protection of whistleblowers, such as a secure reporting line at the level of the Ministry of European Investment and Projects, through which possible breaches of integrity regarding European funds can be anonymously reported. The whistleblowing system will thus be accessible to all those involved in activities related to European funds, it will make the direct link between whistleblowers and competent authorities to verify the reported situations, and can also be complemented by activities to strengthen ethics and trust.
In addition, it is necessary to develop special programs to inform those involved in the management of European funds and in the procurement supported by these funds about the importance of reporting fraud, corruption and other incidents of integrity and about the protection they receive when making an integrity-complaint.
The full text of the letter can be read below.
For additional details, the contact person is: Irina Lonean, Transparency International Romania, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 0744.367.079.