On 25 and 26 April, the High Authority was invited to take part in a TAIEX workshop (Technical assistance and Information exchange) on transparency and good governance in Lebanon. TAIEX is an instrument of the European Commission in order to organize seminars and workshops in neighbourhood countries of the EU, but also study visits in Member States and their institutions and expert missions in beneficiary countries and institutions.
The workshop organized by the European commission in Beirut upon request of the Lebanese authorities, ten days before the elections, allowed to talk about the anticorruption and transparency landscape and reforms but also about transparency of campaigns and political parties financing. In order to share experiences and practices, the European Commission had invited 5 experts from institutions from EU Member States which mission cover some of the topics mentioned in the framework of this TAIEX. They were Nils Hänninger, Director general of the Ministry of Justice in Sweden, Giuseppe Abbatino from the Italian National anticorruption authority (ANAC), Manfred Elmecker From the Austrian tax and customs administration, Karina Polanska of the Latvian Corruption combatting and preventing bureau (KNAB) and Emilie Cazenave for the High Authority for transparency in public life (HATVP).
The discussions of the first day were centred on transparency and prevention of corruption in public life. After a presentation of institutions and reforms in this field in Lebanon, Nils Hänninger presented international standards and tools developed by the EU, but also UNODC and the Council of Europe. The Italian and Swedish experiences were then presented. In Sweden, a peculiar emphasis is placed upon the informal confidence contract with citizens and the culture of transparency and integrity developed throughout decades. The presentation of the Italian ANAC focused on the concept of transparency and on publication of data, notably in an open and reusable format, which are central to the corruption prevention mechanisms.
The following session was bout models of authorities created in Austria and in France. Independence of the High Authority and its relations with other administrations were of peculiar interest to the participants. It missions of control of assets and prevention of conflicts of interests, but also ethical counsel, regulation of revolving doors and or lobbying were presented. In Austria, the example of the Bureau of Internal Affairs of the Ministry of Finance was described and notably the developed tools to measure risks and prevent corruption. This session was followed by working groups on transparency among employees, on the implementation of a national anticorruption strategy and on interinstitutional cooperation and notably exchange of information.
The second day allowed to talk about regulation, control and transparency of elections and political parties funding, with notably the presentation of the legislative and regulatory framework and the mission of the KNAB in Latvia in this field. Indeed, this institution has important audit and investigation powers and publishes documents that are submitted by political parties. A session on that day permitted to mention codes of conduct of political parties in order to ensure fair and equitable elections. The last panel allowed to discuss involvement of civil society organizations and journalists in scrutinizing all the aspects covered on these two days.
The actors who attended the conference stressed the interest and importance of the exchanges of these two days. The elections and work on the national anticorruption strategy of Lebanon are key elements for upcoming reforms in the field of the fight against corruption in the country.