Corruption is extraordinarily costly, consuming more than 5% of global GDP (US$ 2.6 trillion), according to the World Economic Forum. Corruption leads to waste and the inefficient use of public resources, increases the costs of doing business, scares away foreign investment, and undermines public trust in state institutions. To raise awareness of the corrosive effects of corruption, the UN General Assembly designated December 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day.
Over the past year Slovakia has taken several steps to fight corruption, including adopting an anti-corruption action plan, formulated in reaction to the business community’s Rule of Law Initiative, and adopting a 2nd National Action Plan under the Open Government Partnership to promote transparency and good governance. We welcome this, understanding that implementation is key, as is the fight against corruption in all our countries. Lately we have seen more individuals charged or convicted of corruption, including current and former government officials, and the Slovak people are still waiting to see “big fish” be caught. The judiciary and prosecution service should adopt new detailed codes of conduct with enforcement measures to raise professional standards and restore public trust in the legal system. NGOs and the media play critical watchdog roles in democratic societies – they are an ally, and they cannot be ignored. Finally, the White Crow awards serve as an annual reminder here in Slovakia of how individual citizens have an impact by refusing to be silent about wrongdoing. We hope the brave examples of these men and women will motivate others to follow suit.
As members of the Rule of Law Diplomatic Working Group in Slovakia, our Embassies continue to coordinate and support good governance efforts in Slovakia with a wide range of actors. For International Anti-Corruption Day this year, we have invited the new civil society umbrella group Štrngám Za Zmenu (“Jingling for Change”), composed of four prominent Slovak NGOs focused on good governance, who will present their comprehensive governance reform plan for Slovakia. We hope parties from across Slovakia’s political spectrum will consider adopting these reforms as part of their Parliamentary campaigns. Regardless of one’s political views, we believe fighting corruption is something all Slovaks can support, and the international community is ready to support these efforts. We all must remain vigilant against the enduring scourge of corruption, which erodes the trust, efficiency, justice, and prosperity that healthy democratic societies require.
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Embassy of the United Kingdom
Embassy of the United States of America