Can Slovakia learn something from Romania’s anti-corruption efforts?

Slovak officials are interested in knowing more about Romania’s anti-corruption approach. In general, what do you think about what is going in Romania on the field of fighting corruption, do you think that some transfer of Romanian anti-corruption know-how would be helpful also for other countries? Read few comments.

Sergiu Miscoiu, Associate Professor, Faculty of European Studies, Babes-Bolyai University

Generally, the anti-corruption institutional framework and practices in Romania are considered to be nowadays an example of best practices in this field. The anti-corruption institutions and mainly the DNA (National Anti-corruption Department) became a genuinely independent institution, with rigorous procedures, being also neutral, as politicians and businessmen of all colour have massively been charged by the DNA. The DNA prosecutors are also the best prosecutors in terms of intellectual quality and working skills. A former Prime Minister, tens of former ministers, MPs, European MPs, high profile media and business tycoons have been investigated and convicted.

The only fear is about the almightiness of this institution: who will guard the guardians? There as a Superior Council of the Magistrature but this institution is not really able to counter the eventual cases of abuse perpetrated by the DNA.

As other countries in the region have also been massively consumed by corruption, our mechanism is indeed exportable and adaptable to other situations.

Neculai-Cristian Surubaru, PhD Candidate, Teaching Assistant, Loughborough University

Romanian authorities have in recent years started to enjoy the results of its anti-corruption policy, established approximately 10 years ago. The approach has meant that the Romanian National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) has gradually developed its capacity and gained the experience and independence necessary to prosecute important cases of corruption. According to some figures, between May 2013 – May 2014, over 900 people have been sent to Court by the anti-corruption prosecutors including: 6 Members of Parliament, 1 Deputy Prime Minister, 1 minister, 3 senators, 1 member of the European Parliament, 5 regional level County Council presidents, 40 mayors and deputy mayors, 20 magistrates.

In recent years, the activity of the DNA has become very prolific with many medium and high level corruption cases being brought to justice. Together with other judicial structures, the DNA has started to clean up corruption in Romanian society at all possible levels. Their activity is very visible and the institution has a lot of popular support. The anti-corruption measures have been successful due to several factors: a) internal pressure and developments, in light of an increase in the independence of magistrates and a decrease of political influence over their activity; b) external pressure through the Cooperation and Verification mechanism (MCV) of the European Commission. With the right legal framework, institutions and strategic approach the DNA has become one of the most effective judicial institutions in the country, leading its anti-corruption battle.

The Romanian approach can definitely be transferred and borrowed by several other countries. The Romanian model also benefited from inspiration from other countries. Given the similarity of the problems between Romania and Slovakia, particularly in terms of political corruption, it would be very feasible for authorities in Bucharest to share their anti-corruption experience with authorities in Bratislava. This know-how could be transferred either through informal meetings and seminars or through a rather formal adoption of a similar legal and institutional framework.

Moreover, Slovakian authorities and its civil society can also learn from some of the mistakes or threats to the Romanian anti-corruption approach namely: the over-reliance on secret service intelligence, the different blockages in prosecution due to issues of evidence, or the constant attacks from national politicians or biased media. That shows that not all things are perfect, but all in all the Romanian approach will provide an interesting case study for the years to come.

Paul Ivan, Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre (EPC)

Romania’s National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) has been increasingly active in the last 5 years, and especially so in the last year, with a high number of cases being put before the courts. We had also seen a fairly good number of high-level convictions.

This is a most welcome development given the high levels of corruption in the country.

And indeed, the increased efficiency of the Romanian anti-corruption bodies has triggered interest in the region, with delegations from a number of countries coming to Bucharest to learn about it. The experience can no doubt be helpful for other countries. Romanian anti-corruption experts are already advising a number of governments in the region (in the Western Balkans, Moldova etc).

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