The High Authority publishes its 2023 activity report

The High Authority for Transparency in Public Life publishes its 2023 activity report, which marks its ten-year anniversary.

The activity of controlling the declarations of public officials was dense in 2023, due to important electoral and political news. The rate of filing declarations within the legal deadline, which varies depending on the category of declarant, has generally decreased, but the rate of declarations meeting the requirements has clearly increased, thanks to the support provided by the High Authority and to better understanding by declarants of their obligations. In 2023, the High Authority received 8,816 declarations and carried out 3,536 declaration checks. Only 1.4% of public officials who were controlled were reminded of the obligation of accuracy, completeness and sincerity of their declaration. 17 files were sent to the courts for non-filing of declarations.

The activity was also dense in terms of controlling revolving-doors movements between the public and private sectors. 95% of the 438 opinions issued in 2023 were compatibility opinions; in four out of five cases, they were accompanied by reservations, a sign of the permanent search by the High Authority for a balance between the feasibility of these professional projects, the defence of the impartiality of the administration and the protection of public officials against criminal and ethical risks. No criminal offence was noted in the monitoring of these files, but the control of reservation carried out by the High Authority cannot be exhaustive given its limited resources.

Regarding the register of lobbyists, the year was marked by an increase in the number of activity sheets declared and by an improvement in their quality. 2023 also saw a sharp increase in the number of checks carried out (234) and a clear reduction in the number of formal notices for non-filing declarations in the directory. However, many reminders remain necessary for lobbyists to properly fulfil their reporting obligations. Six files were referred to court for total failure to declare. The High Authority once again emphasizes the need to revise the lobbying framework in order to improve its completeness and readability.

Finally, 2023 marked the tenth year of existence of the High Authority. It has become the reference institution in terms of transparency and prevention of conflicts of interest in the public sphere. In ten years, more than 100,000 declarations of assets and interests have been received, more than 1,800 controls of revolving-door movements have been carried out and around 800 checks of lobbyists have been launched. The High Authority observes, however, that it is not able to fully carry out its missions, given insufficient human and budgetary resources. It also formulates a certain number of proposals, aimed in particular at strengthening its control prerogatives and simplifying the legal framework of its action, in order to improve its effectiveness in the service of the integrity of public action and thus to strengthen citizens’ trust.

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