Over the past year Slovakia has taken some steps to fight corruption, including adopting an anti-corruption action plan, a new National Action Plan under the Open Government Partnership, and a new judicial code of conduct. These are positive steps, but public trust in Slovak government institutions remains low, indicating that there is still interest among the public for greater reform.
Our Embassy has been proud to be among the supporters of the “Jingling for Change” civil society initiative, led by four prominent Slovak NGOs focused on good governance. “Jingling for Change” offers a well-designed and non-partisan legislative reform package that any political party, politician, or government official should be able to support. Its comprehensive and detailed plan calls for strengthening the independence of the prosecution service and police; improving the accountability of judges; giving the Supreme Audit Office authorities resources to do their job; limiting gift giving to public officials; and ensuring transparency for all shell companies participating in public procurement.
We hope the next Slovak government, regardless of its composition, will adopt these sensible reforms, which have the potential to improve public trust in Slovak institutions. If fully enacted, these reforms would also bring important economic benefits to Slovakia by attracting more foreign investment and ensuring that all companies compete on a level playing field. This in turn will result in more jobs, better services, and increased tax revenue, which could be used to strengthen social services for all Slovaks. We also continue to believe all corrupt actors, regardless of influence or position, should be accountable for their actions before a court of law.
This year will be an exciting one, with elections in both the United States and Slovakia. We encourage everyone – whether independents or supporters of the left or the right, Slovaks and Americans – to participate in the democratic process by voting in this year’s elections and making sure your voice – and your concerns – are heard. After the elections, our Embassy looks forward to continuing to build our cooperation with the Slovak government on the wide range of our shared interests.