On December 9, we recognize International Anti-Corruption Day as a reminder to strengthen our common efforts to fight corruption globally. The United Nations recognizes corruption as the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development with at least $2.6 trillion stolen annually through global corruption. It weakens economies and corrodes democracy to make us poorer, less safe, and less free. For both individuals and societies seeking greater prosperity, corruption is often a fundamental challenge. It is our duty to jointly address this challenge worldwide.
In Slovakia, we welcome recent convictions in some high-level corruption cases and progress in investigating several pending cases. We hope these cases will be resolved quickly and that the authorities will be able to identify those who ordered and benefitted from the corruption. Proposed improvements to whistleblower protections and efforts to empower an independent implementing office are significant and positive steps. Polling shows, however, that the trust Slovaks have in their state institutions remains weak. As a result, some would-be whistleblowers will not risk reporting corruption because they lack confidence that the authorities will respond seriously and protect them.
Timely and independent investigations, prosecutions, and convictions in high-profile corruption cases can strengthen public trust in state institutions and in democratic government. So can competitive and transparent state procurement processes that provide the best products and services at the best prices. Strict implementation of rigorous ethical and professional conduct standards for judges, prosecutors, and civil servants also contributes to strengthening public trust.
After the murder of Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova in February, Slovaks inspired the world with their civic engagement. Ordinary people showed that those who investigate and fight corruption cannot be silenced and that Slovakia remains committed to its democratic values. While investigative journalists play an important role in guaranteeing the public’s right to be informed, citizens ultimately play the most important role by reporting corruption and by demanding clean and effective government. The efforts of political leaders and law enforcement authorities, in partnership with active citizens, civil society, media, and the international community, can create a more fair, transparent, and prosperous society.
No country is immune from corruption. Drawing upon our own countries’ experience of wrestling with this challenge, we stand ready to work in partnership with the Slovak government and its people in the global fight against corruption.
Office of the Embassy of Canada
Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Embassy of the United States of America