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One in seven MEP candidates has pledged to fight for transparency in the European Union

A total of 51 out of 333 Slovak candidates in the European Parliament elections have reacted to Transparency International Slovakia’s call for increased transparency in the functioning of the European Union. Most of the politicians who have responded to the call are on the ballot of NOVA (New Majority), Smer (Direction – Slovak Social Democracy) and OĽaNO (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities).

At the beginning of May, 2014 Transparency International’s offices in EU Member States approached all MEP candidates to pledge to fight for greater transparency in Brussels if elected. They could do so by promising 1) to vote in the European Parliament for the adoption of legislation providing for effective protection of whistleblowers, 2) to promote transparency in the legislative procedure, limiting the hidden influence of lobbyists, and 3) to vote for mandatory disclosure of contracts in the context of spending public money. The aim is to make the governance and law-making of European institutions a world model for transparency.

Hundreds of candidates across the European Union have joined this commitment. In Slovakia, 51 out of 333 candidates have pledged to fight for these goals, making us one of the three most represented countries, along with Slovenia (53) and Latvia (48).

The largest number (eight) of participating candidates are on the joint candidate list of NOVA, Conservative Democrats of Slovakia and Civic Conservative Party. Then there are seven such candidates from SMER and six on the ballot of OĽaNO.

Among politicians who have real chances of being elected to the European Parliament, Anna Záborská (KDH/Christian Democratic Movement), Zsolt Simon (Most/Bridge), Ivan Štefanec (SDKÚ/Slovak Democratic and Christian Union) and Ján Oravec (SAS/Freedom and Solidarity) have not signed the commitment. Of those who have joined the initiative, as many as six candidates – Jozef Kollár (NOVA), Jozef Viskupič (OĽaNO), Maroš Šefčovič (SMER), Pál Csáky (SMK/Party of the Hungarian Community), Michal Bubán (TIP/We Are Creating a Different Politics) and Ivan Hopta (Úsvit/Dawn) – are the frontrunners on their parties’ ballots.

The commitment has been made by three current MEPs who are standing for election again: Eduard Kukan (SDKÚ), Monika Flašíková-Beňová and Vladimír Maňka (both from SMER). In addition to Anna Záborská (KDH), EP candidates who have not signed the pledge are Miroslav Mikolášik (KDH), Monika Smolková, Boris Zala, Katarína Neveďalová (all from SMER), Sergej Kozlík (SDS/Party of Democratic Slovakia) and Jaroslav Paška (SNS/Slovak National Party).

After the elections, Transparency International Slovakia and Transparency International EU will closely monitor how the elected representatives fulfil their commitments.

Fighting corruption at the European level is important. According to the EU Anti-Corruption Report from February 2014, corruption is a Europe-wide problem, costing the European economy around €120 billion a year. The results of a Eurobarometer survey on attitudes of EU citizens towards corruption show that three quarters of Europeans think corruption is widespread. In Slovakia, this figure is as high as 90 per cent.

You can find the list of all candidates who have joined the pledge here. The list of Slovak participating candidates is available here and the full text of the document signed by them is available here.