Alexander Bozhkov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry
I would like to note the huge amount of work done by Coalition 2000 in connection with the preparation of the present Forum and the creation of the extremely valuable document entitled Anti-Corruption Action Plan.
Why, in the past few years, has corruption become not only a big public issue but also a problem threatening our efforts to establish a democratic society? One of the reasons is the absence of moral inhibitions in modern Bulgarians. For decades - we are more or less all from the same generation, and we are people who have grown up in a world of double standards - we were told one thing at home and quite another, outside of it. For years society was marked by duplicity. And it is very easy to cross the line from a lie to a theft. And when we finally got rid of this false morality, its place was not taken by traditional Bulgarian morality. There appeared a certain nihilism in public relations and the perception of democracy as anarchy and license. This anarchy is most conspicuous in the economy. It is commonly believed that nothing is forbidden there, that nothing is regulated. The Bulgarian public has seen all too many people achieve material prosperity precisely by trampling on the intrinsic moral norms of a civilized modern society.
This is a very catching example. And that makes it all the more difficult to prevent corruption and to persuade people that corruption is a bad thing. Because, besides money stolen from society, it implies a great many other things. For instance, that public procurement will not be assigned to the one likely to provide the best product; that an enterprise will not go to the best buyer, with all ensuing consequences for its future. Corruption means that the state will not collect the due revenues.
In other words, in purely economic terms, the consequences of corruption for society are extremely grave. That is why it is so important for society itself to recover the moral fundaments on which a civilized society ought to be built.
We may here prepare, adopt, and enact the best of laws, the best of regulations. If, however, society does not become a guarantor of people's moral integrity we will not win the fight against corruption and that will undermine the efforts to achieve democracy and order. And ultimately, democracy is, above all, order.
Allow me, in the presence of so many representatives of the media, to voice a certain apprehension. With the subject of corruption becoming some kind of topical issue of the day, when dishonesty, indecency, and corruption are sought in any undertaking, there arises the danger of exaggeration - as if corruption were omnipresent and it were pointless to fight it.
I am offended by hasty generalizations that all those who work in the sphere of privatization are corrupt. And I say this because I have been following closely the work of those employed in the ministry of which I am in charge. Its employees are doing their best to ensure the success of privatization.
Antonio Vigilante, Resident Coordinator, United Nations, Sofia
There are many economic and moral arguments for fighting corruption. I would like to add a functional argument and a legal argument. I think that corruption impedes good governance and the functioning of democracy while, from a legal point of view, corruption is a violation of human rights due to the fact that it diverts resources from investment in human development and does not allow equal access to opportunities. So we may consider that we have not only a moral and economic obligation to fight corruption but we also have a legal obligation to fight it.
I would like to congratulate Coalition 2000 very much for its excellent plan and I would like to congratulate it even for the title, which is very beautiful and looks to the future when, one day I suppose, we will have a Clean Present.
I would like to emphasize two points: the institutionality and the coalition aspect, which are critical to empowerment, and the comprehensiveness of the plan, which is really impressive-so impressive that if it is fully implemented, it will be more than an anti-corruption plan; it will be a plan for good governance as well. If you just think of its effect on internal democracy and political fighting, this plan will definitely contribute not only to fighting corruption, but also to enhancing participatory democracy and transparent public administration.
I think, though, that the plan will have more chances of success in building intolerance towards corruption and in promoting more transparency, if we can detect where the major challenges are. As Mr. John Tennant said, implementation is really a major challenge since the legal and the administrative reforms proposed in the plan depend on several institutions. I hope that the plan of Coalition 2000 contains enough motivation and real capacity to forge partnership, to push and to ensure that the concrete reforms proposed get approved by the relevant bodies. Another minor challenge may be the institutional set-up. I suppose that to make it happen a policy forum at a working level will be necessary in order to coordinate with different institutions the actions needed in due time.
On behalf of the UNDP, besides congratulating Coalition 2000, I would like to assure you that we will continue to support this effort and this plan by promoting exchange of the best practices among the countries and by providing, when required, specialized advisory services. My congratulations and good luck.
Avis Bohlen, Ambassador to Bulgaria of the United States of America
Corruption is one of the most difficult and complex issues that faces all of our societies. In present days, though, corruption is a very serious problem in societies in transition. I am very pleased that my government, through USAID and through its cooperation with many other donors and international organizations, has been able to support the efforts of this group and of other organizations which are trying to fight corruption. My government is very committed to assisting anti-corruption efforts on a global scale, and Bulgaria is one of the countries that has received our support on this issue. But in the final analysis it is the organizations in Bulgaria and Bulgarian society that will make a success of these efforts. It is, therefore, very important to note that this initiative of Coalition 2000 started on a local level - with a group of Bulgarian NGOs that got together to initiate an anti-corruption coalition. I think it is also important that citizens' participation has been assured through a series of meetings that led to this event, and the next step will be to go back and receive a broad-basis approval of this action plan.
Local support - support from institutions in Bulgaria - will be extremely important to ensure the success of this project. The real process has to develop from inside and with whatever help the international community may give it; it is really Bulgarian society that will have to make this process work.
I want to make one other point. I was very struck by the point that was made in the article of Evgenii Dainov in Kapital weekly that many people are critical or a little bit cynical about the efforts of the United States and other western countries to combat corruption in societies where viewing corruption as a problem is sometimes seen as naive and idealistic and slightly unrealistic. But you don't want me now to make the point that these same countries are the ones that have the most developed economies. There is, as many of the previous speakers said, a very close connection between the level of economic development and the level of corruption.
Corruption is a bad thing not only because of the moral stigma that is attached to it but also because it is a mortgage on the future; it is a great burden on the economy. In addition, it is profoundly destructive of the values that are central to building a democratic society, transparency and accountability. Corruption by definition flourishes in an atmosphere of secrecy. It cannot survive in the open. And, as it has been said earlier by Antonio Vigilante, it is a violation of human rights; it is destructive of the rule of law and of sound judicial process.
That is why, even though the last speaker was quite correct to say that neither this action plan, nor its successors, nor any conference can combat the problem of corruption in itself - it will not disappear overnight - it seems to me that the important thing is that Clean Future should be a continuing goal for these organizations in Bulgarian society as a whole and that is why we are here today.
Danijel Pantic, Deputy Secretary General, European Movement in Serbia
I would like to pass to this forum the best regards of three not-for-profit organizations from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that are now gathering forces to tackle seriously, for the first time in the history of Serbia, the issue of corruption. We are at the very beginning of our work.
We believe that countries in the region of South-Eastern Europe share a number of common policy problems. It is certainly true that the issue of corruption is among the most serious policy problems. In order to be solved, these common policy problems require proper policy solutions and policy recommendations. Thus, we have been impressed by the work of Coalition 2000 in curbing corruption in Bulgaria. We believe that Coalition 2000 came up with a number of solutions, which create something like a 'know-how' that can be applied in other countries in the region as well.
As you know, corruption impedes economic growth and the allocation of resources not only locally but also regionally. In terms of international business transactions, corruption makes them less efficient and introduces certain distortions in the allocation of investments. In that sense, improving the situation in one of the Balkan countries will improve the situation in the neighboring countries as well. As you know, the whole region is being, with good reason, considered quite risky for foreign direct investments compared to the countries of the Visegrad group, for example.
In Serbia we believe that strengthening and promoting transparency through, in the first place, proper social marketing is likely to be the most effective method for curbing corruption. I completely agree with Ms. Kapka Kostova, who said that prevention is very important. The first thing that we are going to do and that we have already started doing is to organize and pursue a survey of corruption in Serbia and to see what should be done in the future step by step.
Ekaterina Michailova, Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Committee to Counter Crime and Corruption
It is an honor to me to have the opportunity at this moment to address so many people who have worked actively to counteract corruption and who, through public initiatives, have supported the efforts of the government institutions to enable us to cope with the phenomenon of corruption.
In its early days the 38th National Assembly adopted a declaration which is familiar to most of you: the Declaration of National Consent. It contains an item which says that we are combining our efforts in the struggle against corruption and crime at all levels and in all powers. We declared this a priority of both Parliament and the government at the very beginning of the formation of the 38th National Assembly. This was perhaps the first act to publicly demand that resolute actions be taken in this sphere.
We were glad to see that non-governmental initiatives were also launched in this sphere. Coalition 2000 is one of them. The work carried out by the Coalition during the past period is indeed impressive. The proposed Anti-Corruption Action Plan was diligently prepared. Many of you present here today have seen it in a rough version before it was finalized. In it important conclusions are drawn and many valuable initiatives planned which can be realized both by government institutions and NGOs.
Consequently, non-governmental organizations, the media and government institutions have united their efforts because a task of this kind requires broad interaction.
Today's meeting is yet another way of posing the problems and seeking a solution to many of them. We are all clear about the fact that not a single country in the world has been able to cope with corruption for good. This does not mean, however, that no actions should be taken to curb it. In my opinion, the struggle against corruption is not limited solely to sanctioning offenders; it requires comprehensive measures to be taken for the conduct of genuine reforms in all spheres. This will help to liquidate the prerequisites for corruption. For this reason, one of the most important priorities of both Parliament and the government is the conduct and successful completion of the reforms in the economic, financial and administrative sphere.
These are all questions which we consider to be directly related to the subject under discussion. How can government institutions and non-governmental organizations successfully cooperate with each other? I can say that we are already actively working together. We held a meeting between representatives of the Steering Committee of Coalition 2000 and the Parliamentary Committee to Counter Crime and Corruption. At it, we agreed on many joint initiatives, the exchange of information and possibilities for joint actions. Parliament will use the ideas of Coalition 2000 by translating them into legislation and, conversely, the government bodies will be able to provide the necessary information to non-governmental organizations and take specific actions. Of course, the beginning is not easy. I believe that our cooperation will not be limited to what has been done so far. Possibly the biggest guarantee that things will develop in a favorable direction is that the boards of directors of non-governmental organizations include MPs and representatives of the executive power. In other words, we have created mechanisms of direct links and contacts among us which indeed enable us to put into effect the good ideas that are born in a constantly ongoing dialogue.
Emil Georgiev, Coordinator, Coalition 2000
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The following three fundamental assumptions underlie the activity of Coalition 2000: first, that corruption is harmful to society and should therefore be counteracted; second, that corruption is a cognizable phenomenon and, in this sense, measurable, and can be made subject to deliberate actions with likewise measurable results and effectiveness; and third, that corruption can only be successfully counteracted through joint efforts and cooperation among all those concerned, and only if this cooperation is broad-based, well-planned, and coordinated.
Those ideas were also fundamental in drafting the Anti-Corruption Action Plan. The writing of this document involved 32 experts in the area of social and political sciences, law, economics, sociological research, and the media.
They were organized into six working groups which covered the six main parts of the Plan: institutional and legal environment, judicial reform, economic reform, civil society, public perceptions of corruption, and international cooperation.
The initial draft of the Action Plan was sent out with a request for input and recommendations regarding its content to all governmental and non-governmental, as well as international organizations concerned, and was subsequently reviewed at a working meeting held in Sofia.
At the second stage the Action Plan was published in 2,000 copies and was once again sent out to the greatest possible number of institutions concerned with a request for input. Foreign and international research centers and organizations made an important contribution at this stage. Meanwhile, a number of personal meetings took place between members of the Coalition 2000 Secretariat and Steering Committee and high-level government officials for the purpose of presenting the Action Plan. This ultimately resulted in what you all have in front of you, and I am most happy with the appreciation expressed by the previous speakers.
After this Forum, the Anti-Corruption Action Plan will become a broad and solid base for anti-corruption actions, both on the part of government organizations, and of the third sector. I am sure that the experience we have gained in the process of creating this Plan, and the experience we will gain in the process of its implementation, will be used in other countries. This will be our own contribution to the fight against corruption on an international scale.
I take the opportunity to thank all those involved in one way or another in the creation of the Anti-Corruption Action Plan, and especially its authors. The holding of the present Forum itself, as well as the significant involvement of the government, on the one hand, and of non-governmental organizations, on the other, is a guarantee that our efforts have not gone to waste.
John Tennant, Mission Director, USAID/Bulgaria
One of the things that we heard so often today is that responding effectively to the challenges of corruption requires very broad mobilization of all elements of society. From the public-sector perspective, corruption arises where public officials have wide authority, little accountability and perverse incentives. This means that the more opportunities these authorities have to regulate, the more opportunities exist for corruption. The lower the probability of detection and punishment, the lower the risk associated with corrupt deals. In addition, the lower the salaries, the rewards for performance, the security of employment and the professionalism of public service, the greater the incentives for public officials to pursue self-serving rather than public-serving ends.
This institutional perspective in the public sector suggests fighting corruption by three basic initiatives. One is reducing the role of the government in economic activities. As Mr. Bozhkov said, the most effective way to fight corruption is to privatize the economy. Two, strengthening transparency and sanctions to improve accountability; and three, redesigning trends of employment in public service to improve incentives. These three issues need to be the most important elements if we are to have an effective action plan to deal with corruption in the public sector.
The work map laid out in the action plan sets objectives that the government can and must pursue. Although this perspective gives us an important insight into the problem, it does not take into account socially-embedded incentives to participate in corrupt practices. Independent of opportunities, costs, and professional incentives within government institutions, the general social attitude towards corruption influences those who would be involved in it.
Indeed, the Vitosha Research findings in the Clean Future document suggest that the population's attitude towards corruption in Bulgaria may be far too accepting and resigned to corruption as a necessary evil to permit a sustained and strong anti-corruption effort. Experience around the world has shown that without strong civil society and public sector support, governments are unlikely to follow through with anti-corruption reforms once they enter the politically difficult terrain.
These considerations suggest that any anti-corruption efforts must also address attitudes towards corruption. Most generally, such efforts need to raise awareness about the cost of corruption to the country's political and economic development. This means convincing the public that corruption is an extremely damaging pattern of interaction for society as a whole, and that the collective damages over time outweigh any possible short-term personal benefits. Along with raising awareness, these efforts need to stimulate the reformers and mobilize citizens and elites to push out any corruption in the political agenda.
Responses to corruption, therefore, include both institutional reforms to limit authority, improve accountability and change incentives within the public sector, as well as societal reforms to change attitudes and mobilize political will for sustained anti-corruption advancement. The first is a uniquely governmental role with the support of civil society and the private sector while the second is most effectively led by civil society and the private sector with the support of the government. This interaction between the two is critical for the success of the anti-corruption efforts. Within these two broad categories the list of potential responses is extensive and it is extensively discussed in the action plan in front of you.
I would like to note that Coalition 2000, as it has been said earlier, is really a unique private-public partnership that provides a powerful framework and mechanism for dealing with corruption in a comprehensive and systemic way. USAID-Bulgaria is pleased to be able to support this creative initiative, which puts Bulgaria in a leadership position for all countries which are struggling to deal with corruption. The plan is in front of us. Now the challenge is to implement it. This is the critical step in the whole process.
Ludovic Aigrot, Programme Officer responsible for the Octopus Project, Secretariat General of the Council of Europe
Corruption and related crime, such as money laundering, know no borders. Which is why international cooperation is essential in this field. I would like to point out that the Council of Europe supports all initiatives which can contribute to reducing corruption, including Coalition 2000, and we were very happy to contribute to this work through our Information and Documentation Centre in Sofia. The fight against corruption is a priority for our organization because corruption is a serious threat to the principles it stands for-the establishment of democratic institutions, the rule of law as well as human rights. For this reason the Council of Europe has developed numerous actions and extensive work in this field. I will mention just two recent events.
Last week we held a conference at the ministerial level on pan-European police cooperation in the fight against corruption and organized crime. We also adopted a Criminal Convention on Fighting Corruption on which the Council of Europe has been working for the last three years. I would like to take this opportunity to ask Bulgarian authorities to consider joining the Group of States against Corruption - GRECO, established under the auspices of the Council of Europe. The aim of GRECO is to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption through a process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure. This would be another formal commitment of Bulgaria towards the fight against corruption.
I would like to mention that six states have already joined this group. GRECO will review compliance with the twenty guiding principles in the fight against corruption that were adopted by the committee of ministers of the Council of Europe last year and will also monitor compliance with the provisions of the Criminal Convention on Corruption. I would like to underline the importance of this instrument that was adopted last week. This is the first instrument in line with the procedural laws in the field of the fight against corruption. This is the first instrument with such a wide scope.
Finally, I would like to inform you about the second phase of the Octopus project, which is a joint project between the Council of Europe and the European Commission on the fight against corruption and organized crime in states in transition. During the first phase we drafted recommendations for all states involved, including Bulgaria, and now we are developing a two-year training program, whose aim is to develop cooperation between judges, prosecutors, police officers and other relevant experts at the national level in specific fields, such as international cooperation, methods of conduct in corruption cases, the cooperation between law enforcement bodies, the protection of witnesses and other subjects.
Ognian Shentov, President, Center for the Study of Democracy
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Guests,
Allow me, on behalf of the Coalition 2000 Steering Committee, to declare the commencement of the Anti-Corruption Public Forum conducted within the Coalition 2000 process. The purpose of this Forum is to endorse the Anti-Corruption Action Plan-a document on which practically all of us present here have been working for several months already.
The present forum is, on the one hand, part of the process of growing public awareness about the need for an anti-corruption policy whereas, on the other, it is an integral part of the internal structure and the logic of the Coalition 2000 initiative. The background and chronological development of the Coalition 2000 process have been presented in the Clean Future publication. I would nevertheless like to make two points which I consider particularly important and which are among the most essential characteristics of this process.
The first one is that, as a model of interaction between the structures and organizations of civil society and government institutions in the sphere of anti-corruption policy development and implementation, this process is unique. This was the opinion of the international experts, the World Bank experts, who have had similar working experience in more than 20 countries and who visited Bulgaria for consultations in September 1998.
A second, crucial characteristic of the process is that it constitutes a systematic, comprehensive approach to the process of devising and implementing an anti-corruption policy. A few days ago, during his public lecture at the Sheraton Hotel, Mr. George Soros, who was on a brief visit to Bulgaria, noted the comprehensive nature of the Coalition 2000 approach, which, according to him, had no analogue in the other countries in transition.
Let me express, on behalf of all those involved in the various components of the Coalition 2000 process, our sincerest thanks to Ms. Ekaterina Mihailova, Chair of the Parliamentary Committee to Counter Crime and Corruption, who supported our ideas at a very early stage. I would also like to thank the Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Bozhkov and the Mayor of Sofia, Mr. Stefan Sofianski, for their commitment, and the commitment of the institutions headed by them-the Ministry of Industry and Sofia City Municipality, regarding this problem. I would also like to express our gratitude to President Petar Stoyanov for his address to the participants in the Policy Forum.
Finally, I would like to congratulate Mr. John Tenant, Mission Director of the United Stated Agency for International Development in Bulgaria, who was recently honored with one of the highest Bulgarian awards. After a most successful term in office, he is leaving the country definitively and we highly appreciate the fact that he made time to participate in the work of the Forum.
Stefan Sofianski, Mayor of Sofia
I want to thank the forum's organizers and all those present because the very fact that we are meeting for the second time within half a year to discuss these problems shows that we are committed to them. On the other hand, we all should ask ourselves why we are discussing measures against corruption in the first place. Is it because we feel guilty or are we simply reacting to public pressure? I would say both.
Public pressure on the country's government for solving the problem of corruption is obvious. This is so because, unfortunately, quite often in their everyday life people are faced with big or small problems of this kind. This is why we should ask ourselves: seeing that there is public pressure and seeing that there is a desire to change things, why have we not succeeded as yet?
I hope that this forum will be a step in the right direction. Only the discussion of ideas is not enough, though. I consider it high time for all of us who have undertaken public commitments or have had powers vested in them to change things in some way, to embark on extreme measures.
What should we do? Where are we still missing the link with the public? In what conditions does corruption thrive and what is the first thing which needs to be overcome?
Corruption does not thrive in places where structures and procedures are clear. In other words, the first thing we have to do is to create normal management structures and clear procedures for the public.
The second, extremely important thing in this direction is to create transparency. Out of ten decisions one may be wrong. If you find a way to explain it to the public it will forgive you if you are working well otherwise. If you try to hide it, the suspicion of corruption is immediately bred. This is why we have to pursue a policy of transparency in any undertaking.
The third extremely important activity is control. In my view it includes two components. The first is effective institutional control. Our society can boast quite serious steps in this direction. We have an operative financial control system, we were able to set up the Audit Office. This is extremely important because it enables us to control public money. The Audit Office looks precisely after public money. These are the primary and secondary disposers of budget funds.
Thomas O'Brien, Resident Representative, The World Bank, Sofia
It is an honor for me to be here today, to be amongst a large group of partners who have started their commitment to cooperation and action against corruption. And there is no doubt in my mind of the importance of this topic, and the attention which Bulgaria is paying to it. Indeed I recall some months ago, on my very first working day here in Bulgaria, attending a meeting of Coalition 2000 to debate the early findings which are being presented to you here today.
You know that the World Bank works in well over 100 countries across the world, and has 181 members, and there is no country which can claim to be free of corruption. Many countries are making efforts to curb corruption. Bulgaria can be amongst those at the front of this effort. It is doing so by:
Acknowledging the presence of corruption,
working with partners in civil society and the private sector to combat it, and
being transparent about the progress which is made in this fight - these are all key ingredients.
The Coalition 2000 initiative brings together several NGOs, and seeks to include the Government, Parliamentarians and others. Coalition 2000 should continue to build its bridges further and stronger, to Trade Unions, private companies, government authorities and others. The World Bank believes that partnerships of this type are essential for an effective battle against corruption.
The Bank's commitment against corruption is led from the top: our President James Wolfensohn has personally spoken out on the topic in the largest international forums. Why? Because widespread corruption holds back a country's economic development and weakens the fight against poverty. You can't get Bulgaria's economic engine running again smoothly if the petrol is full of dirt and dust. This dirt and dust - the corruption - will stop the engine firing on all cylinders, and will clog up the machine. So it's to the benefit of ordinary citizens that corruption is weeded out, and legitimate economic activity is allowed to flourish.
Corruption - the reality and the perception - also undermines confidence in the economic reforms which Bulgaria is boldly and vigorously pursuing. We all know that reputable foreign investors can be scared off if they believe that doing business here requires widespread manipulation of the system. But more important than that, the common people, the ordinary citizens living in the towns and villages across this country will naturally be suspicious of the new, market reforms, if they believe that corruption undermines reforms, and brings only gain for a few and not for the many. And that concern is understandable - and that's why the Government, Coalition 2000 and all of us must respond to their needs and concerns.
Many of the steps and ideas included in the Coalition 2000 plan are at the forefront of best international practice and we can applaud that. The Bank looks forward to looking at ways it can continue to support the Government and its partners in their work. For example, efforts to strengthen and rationalize the role of the state - so that institutions genuinely serve the needs of citizens, in ordinary, day-to-day interactions in hospitals, schools, town halls - are programs which the Bank with the Government have set as a priority in our Country Assistance Strategy. We can provide technical advice and financial resources for such a program, and look forward to advancing this.
Further, in all our countries, we're committed to eliminating any corruption which could emerge in World Bank supported activity. As we say, and you will agree, even one case of corruption is one case too many. The Government, Coalition 2000, and others know that corruption can never be eliminated. But the efforts - to raise public awareness, act as a watchdog, and implement concrete actions - they can go a long way towards a clean future. I wish you well in your endeavors.
William Loris, Deputy Director, International Development Law Institute
Someone as late as November 6 of this year raised the question of whether this forum will lead to a clean future. I do not think that the forum will do that. I do not think the plan will either. I think, though, that this plan is mapping out a process and I think that this has been underlined here. It takes the commitment of a large group of people, broad representation, and the element of sustainability in order for this plan to have any effective role. My institute is involved because, as you can see in its title, it is a development institute. We try to find the connection between law and the development process and, in a sense, one of the end products of this project or initiative is to change the legal infrastructure.
We are not here as originators of this project, because this is a truly local initiative of people who have made this plan-who started it, who sought the funding for it and who have advocated for it. But as Mayor Sofianski said, the process starts with us, with public officials; so in the interest of transparency I can explain to you how this project was structured. USAID was approached by Coalition 2000. It came out of a dialogue between Coalition 2000 and USAID as well as many of the other people around this table today. And, as a matter of convenience and also as a matter of ensuring the transparency and effectiveness of the process, there was a grant made by USAID to my institute, which in turn passed the resources on to the coalition through the secretariat as they needed them, and that process is still going on.
We are also working with Coalition 2000 in establishing procedures for the second phase of this project, which would ensure greater participation of interested individuals from non-governmental organizations, of government officials, etc. And these procedures have found a way into the working documents which will be used in the implementation of the second phase. USAID has played a major part in the negotiations and in setting the policies and directions for these documents so that this process itself can achieve the kind of transparency that everybody says we need in order to fight corruption.
There is another reason we are involved. IDLI is an intergovernmental organization. One of our member countries is Bulgaria. The United States is another member country. We think that the member countries of the institute have the responsibility to play a part in the economic development in general, not just in Bulgaria but elsewhere. So Bulgaria is one of our 'owners' as a member state. It reviews our work and sets our policies, and we plan already in some courses that we are giving in 1999, which will be attended by representatives from the whole world, to bring representatives from Coalition 2000 to our institute in Rome and let them tell their story. Hopefully, this will have not only a regional effect but an effect beyond this region.