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Round table: Anti-Corruption in Public Procurement: Balancing the Policies

On May 26, 2011 the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) organized a round table in Oslo on the various aspects of good governance in the energy sector and in particular on anti-corruption policies in public procurement. The round table was chaired by Dr. Fulvio Castellacci, Head of the Department of International Economics at NUPI.

Dr. Jens Andvig, Senior Researcher, NUPI presented the main findings from a joint NUPI / CSD publication on anti-corruption in public procurement. He noted that Norway and Bulgaria are characterized by distinctly different levels of corruption in general, and in particular in public procurement. Still, the area of public-private contracting presents high corruption risks everywhere in the European Union, and adequate measures should be taken to counter those risks. Only 1.6% of the total EU public procurement market is won by entities originating from another EU country, which in effect points to a dysfunctional internal public procurement market in Europe.
Mr. Ruslan Stefanov, Director, CSD Economic Program, briefed the participants on the latest developments in Bulgaria’s energy sector. Mr. Stefanov underscored that the sector is of paramount importance to the country’s economy as it represents a significant portion of overall GDP as well as imports and exports. It must also be noted that one in four public procurement contracts relate to the sector. Nevertheless, Bulgaria faces serious challenges in terms of energy sector transparency. There have been grave governance failures and corruption in the energy sector which have come to light in the past in large-scale energy projects. At the same time the country is about to embark on even bigger projects, such as building a second nuclear power plant, which carry higher hidden risks. Mr. Stefanov noted that CSD research has revealed that avoiding competition in public procurement in Bulgaria’s energy sector is the rule and not the exception as nearly 56% of all contracts in 2009 did not follow the open tendering procedure. 
Mr. Jonas Moberg, Head of Secretariat, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, presented his organization’s activities and commented on how those relate to reducing corruption in public procurement in the gas sector by providing greater transparency with respect to the industry’s revenues.
Dr. Todor Galev, Senior Analyst at CSD, concluded the round table discussions by presenting the findings of an EU-wide study on the development of indicators of citizens’ trust in the criminal justice system. He noted that public trust in institutions is an important prerequisite for building and maintaining functioning control institutions, which in turn ensure transparent and corruption free public procurement procedures.

Agenda (Adobe PDF, 475 KB)
Presentation by Dr. Jens Andvig, Senior Researcher, NUPI (Adobe PDF, 90 KB)
Presentation by Mr. Ruslan Stefanov, Director, Economic Program, CSD (Adobe PDF, 1.7 MB)
Presentation by Dr. Todor Galev, Senior Analyst at CSD (Adobe PDF, 280 KB)
Anti-Corruption in Public Procurement: Balancing the Policies
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