For the first time since 2002 until now, in the Corruption Perception Index launched by Transparency International, Romania registers a negative trend in the perception of corruption in public sector and the anticorruption reforms. After the severe signal brought by last years CPI with regards to the freezing of the fight against corruption, Romania scores 3,7 points out of 10, revealing not only that the effects of anticorruption policies came to a standstill, but an increase in the level of perceived corruption. Thus, Romania occupies a not very flattering 25th position within the EU 27, being followed only by Bulgaria with 3,6 and Greece with 3,5 points.
The alarm signal has never been more serious – the composite index resulted within the CPI pictures mostly tendencies manifested in the evolution of perception of corruption within a country. During this last year an abandon of systemic reforms with impact can be noticed as well as a decrease in the level of interest the political class manifests towards fighting corruption, which lead to a decline in the CPI ranking and, even more severe, to the début of an extremely dangerous downward trend.
If the financial crisis period offered a valuable lesson to the major industrialised countries of the world, showing the measure in which corruption provokes poverty for those more affected by it and unsustainable economic growth for the business environment, Romania, which is undergoing a severe financial crisis, should take action until this scourge will bring to government and financial failure and to internalize a commitment to transparency and accountability as a prerequisite for economic recovery.
This year, Transparency International Romania launched its Diagnostic Analysis of the National Integrity System which shows an evident link between the degree of corruption and indicators such as quality of life, sustainable development and functioning rule of law.
Among the countries that registered in this year scores below the previous one there are also the states most affected by the financial crisis, aggravated by the lack of transparency and integrity of government decisions, public spending, government structures functioning. Yet, among the new EU Member States which have complied with their commitments to transparency and integrity, such as Poland, for example, an increase of 0.3 points can be noticed, showing a direct link between economic growth and improving the public integrity climate. But, unlike Romania, Poland corruption efforts were intensified after the EU accession and not neglected.
Transparency International Romania deems this decrease to be the result of the lack of strategic leadership with regards to the legislative and institutional measures, which in turn led to the excessive weakening of all the integrity pillars and the deterioration of the credibility of the reform and of Romania in general. The damage to Romania’s credibility is especially evident as the composite index for the country takes into consideration extremely realistic and influential assessments of organisations such as the Country Risk Service and Country Forecast by the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Risk Service IHS Global Insight, World Competitiveness Report of Institute for Management Development or Global Competitiveness Report of World Economic Forum. Transparency International's CPI underlines even more strongly the alarm signals brought by the reports of a number of prestigious institutions, and falls in line with the Worldwide Governance Indicators World Bank assessments [ 1 ] which point to a decrease of the index of the corruption control and the index on the effectiveness of governance, as well as the assessments of the national integrity system issued by Transparency International Romania[ 2 ].
If the Romanian Cabinet does not intend to take on the meanings given by all these institutions the business environment certainly knows how to read the effects and risks which the absence of real reforms can bring to the foreign investment climate. The translation of the corruption costs raised by all these ratings means:
- The lack of coherent anti-corruption policies and an outdated 2007 National Anti-Corruption Strategy
- A justice system which still does not have a coherent strategy to continue the reforms and which is still unprepared to provide a certain degree of predictability to investors
- The massive dismantling of the spending of public resources, which, under the circumstances of the economic crisis and increasing indebtedness of the country, was matched by an their opaque allocation
- The increasing reduction of the Romania’s efficiency in accessing European public funds
- An uncertain public procurement system that led to significant expense for impact-lacking investments and to huge costs for taxpayers to the budget thusly allocated
- Decreased quality of life for all social classes who pay the costs of widespread corruption while public resources are being wasted opaquely and preferentially
- Lack of accountability for the actions of certain categories of officials from the central and local government, the judiciary and administrative jurisdictions’ leadership
- Lack of stability of the regulations which pave the way for abuses in the exercise of public power and public policy management
- The massive degradation of the climate of legality and legitimacy of the government
Transparency International Romania draws attention to the fact that Romania’s EU accession is not a sufficient supply to ensure that we can ignore the costs of corruption. Transparency International Romania calls on the authorities in Bucharest to show maturity and understand that corruption efforts should not be used for propaganda purposes, but as a means of ensuring the competitiveness of Romania and safeguarding the rights of its citizens.
Romania’s CPI score represents the quantification of the results of anti-corruption reforms from the perspective of experts, domestic and foreign country analysts and business people and potential investors. Therefore, the deficiencies reported by these groups cannot be overlooked; on the contrary they require urgent measures so as the chance for Romania's sustainable recovery in the post-financial crisis is not missed.
For foreshadowing those measures are capable of producing real and sustainable impact, Transparency International Romania requests the establishment of a working group with representatives of all parliamentary parties and relevant institutions in the pillars of public integrity, and offers volunteer support to provide the secretariat function of the National Initiative for Good Governance and Public Integrity.