30 Standards for transparency over influence in the public sector

Date: 23 of June 2015

Transparency International-Bulgaria presents today 30 standards for transparency over influence in the public sector at a conference on lobbying practices and the means for bringing transparency and integrity in lobbying.

Among the participants in the discussion are leading political scientists and sociologists in Bulgaria, as well as representatives of business organizations, the National Assembly and other institutions. Mrs. Helen Turek of the international secretariat of Transparency International was a special guest and lecturer at the event.

In the past 15 years the discussion on bringing light onto the undue influence in public policies in Bulgaria has entered the focus of the political and societal agenda on several occasions. So far 5 draft bills have been elaborated for regulation of lobbying. However neither has adequately complied with the leading standards for transparency, integrity and equality of access, nor has received political support.

Transparency International-Bulgaria puts the emphasis on the need to apply a systemic approach towards the possible solutions for transparency of influence over public policies in Bulgaria, including regulation of the main aspects of lobbying activity. TI-Bulgaria presents 30 standards for bringing light onto the influence over policies, grouped into 4 main dimensions: Transparency, Integrity, Oversight, management and sanctions and Participation and access. Each of the standards is accompanied by an assessment of its presence in the legal framework in force, the level of its implementation, as well as specific recommendations for amendment of the normative framework, which will allow for achieving a higher level of transparency and integrity of influence over the political process.

Recently TI-Bulgaria presented the results of the first European report from an in-depth study on lobbying and the level of protection of the political process against undue influence. The study, conducted by Transparency International chapters in 19 European countries and 3 EU institutions showed that Bulgaria is among the countries with lowest levels of transparency and integrity of lobbying.

Bulgaria has an overall score of 25% out of 100. This is a result below the regional average of 31% and can be assessed as poor.

It is particularly alarming that the country receives its lowest score on the indicator of transparency of lobbying – a meagre 13%. The regional average on this dimension is 26%. The result is due to the lack of regulation of lobbying activities within the Bulgarian legal framework. Thus a significant part of the influence, exerted by various group interests, takes place behind closed doors and beyond the scope of public oversight.

The Policy paper “Transparency, Integrity and Equality of Influence over Policy-Making in Bulgaria Policy Paper” can be accessed here.