Today Transparency International Slovenia launch a new Integrity Pact in conjunction with the Ministry of Health. We asked the Minister of Health Milojka Kolar Celarc her views on how this Integrity Pact will help bring about clean contracting.
Transparency International: How do you see the state of corruption in public procurement in Slovenia?
Milojka Kolar Celarc: Indisputably the state of corruption in Slovenia is a serious problem, like it is in other EU countries, especially those which are in transition. It also exists in the area of health sector but not more than in other sectors. In isolated cases, suspicions point to the existence of corruption, but the scope of corruption on that basis can’t be defined.
TI: Why did you decide it would be worthwhile to do an Integrity Pact with Transparency International Slovenia?
MKC: Integrity Pacts are a great way of the term transparency of public procurement in health sector. We want to show that the Ministry of Health conducted public procurement procedures in accordance with the law and moral norms. On the other hand Integrity Pacts are an opportunity to show that we are prepared to resist the phenomenon of corruption.
TI: Has your Ministry partnered with civil society before?
MKC: The Ministry of Health is constantly working to improve cooperation with civil society. It is open to communicate and cooperate with civil associations as well as individuals. It has to be noted that the Integrity Pact project is one of the first cases of organized and formalized cooperation with civil society, particularly in the field of public procurement.
The field of public procurement is one area where the suspicion of corruption is often the case, in our opinion, not necessarily justified. That is why we accepted immediately the initiative of Transparency International Slovenia to carry out a project integrity pact.
TI: What factors do you see as essential to ensuring the success of the IP?
MKC: We believe the Integrity Pact will be successful because representatives of Transparency International Slovenia will be able to follow all stages of procurement. Also the entire documentation will be promptly accessible. Some of the main factors for success are the common will and common efforts of all participants for the success of the project
and that all strictly respect the integrity pact until it is concluded. Also the exchange of information on the public procurement procedure, which takes place in the framework of integrity pact.
TI: What message would you give to your counterparts in other ministries regarding why they should consider doing an integrity pact?
MKC: In the area of public procurement, transparency is one of the most important elements. It is necessary to ensure greater transparency and thus achieve greater confidence in the work of public procurement experts. Integrity Pacts are an excellent instrument for this.